Swedish Freighter Akka Wrecked Off Scotland


By James Donahue


At 442 feet the Swedish-built freight carrier Akka wasn't a giant of the seas, nor was it an impressive vessel when wedged among the other carriers in the ports she called.


Built in 1942, the Akka served her owners, Grangesberg Oxelosund Trafik as an iron ore carrier for 14 years until she ran on the rocks of the coast of Scotland on April 9, 1956, tore open her hull, and sank so fast that three crew members were killed right away and three others so badly injured they died before they could get to a hospital.


The vessel was bound from Oxelosound on the Baltic Sea, to Glasgow with a full cargo of ore when she ran on the Gantocks, described as a dangerous cluster of rocks in the Firth of Clyde about a mile south of Dunoon.


The ship's captain knew the waters and was well aware of the rocks. As his ship was making its way up the Firth of Clyde that evening, approaching Glasgow, he ordered a change of course to clear the Gantocks but the ship would not answer the helm. Something was wrong with the rudder and the Akka could not be turned.


By the time he realized the ship could not be turned, and he ordered the engines stopped and put astern, it was too late. The Akka was too close to the rocks and her forward momentum carried her right into them.


She struck so hard her hull was torn open for almost half the length of the hull. The ship immediately listed and went over on her port side as the crew scrambled to abandon ship. The survivors among that 33-member crew said the vessel sank within four minutes. They said the boilers exploded when the cold water hit them and there was a blast of steam as the ship slipped beneath the water.


Strangely enough, the wreck settled on the bottom in an upright position, between 30 and 40 meters deep, and has become a favorite visiting spot for sport divers.


They say the Akka sank in such shallow water that the top levels of her superstructure and funnel were considered a hazard to navigation and had to be removed. We question this story considering the position of the wreck and its proximity to the deadly Gantocks. It was seem that any skipper that gets his vessel close enough to strike the Akka is about to hit the rocks anyway.



Great And Lost Ships Of The World