Sister Steamer Russia That Resembled Scotia

Scotia - Lost On Michigan's Keweenaw Point

By James Donahue

The Scotia was an iron hulled bulk carrier that joined a small armada of shipwrecks that have collected off the tip of Lake Superior's Keweenaw Point.

This vessel wrecked there during a gale on Oct. 24, 1884 as the crew was attempting to negotiate the narrows between the point and Manitou Island and possibly find shelter. The vessel was steaming empty on its way to Duluth when it got caught in the storm.

But winter can arrive early on Superior and the skipper of the Scotia, a Captain Bogart, found himself in a "whiteout" from heavy winds and snow squalls so heavy visibility sometimes was reduced to zero. It was in the midst of such a squall at around 5 a.m. that the 231-foot ship went hard aground at the tip of the Keweenaw.

The crew signaled the passing steamer Nyack that day, was taken off the stricken vessel, and salvagers were notified.

At first the Scotia was considered salvagable even though it was resting high out of the water. But as the storms intensified the pounding waves eventually broke the iron hull amidships and she fell into ruin before salvagers could get to it.

One news reporter observed the wreck as follows: "The gangway decks being apart five inches, the bottom all gone and the port side badly broken." It was said the bow remained high on the rocks while a stern section settled in about ten feet of water. The 11-year-old Scotia was declared a total wreck and over the years was broken up for scrap.

The Scotia was one of four identical iron steamers built by the King Iron Co. at Buffalo, New York, in 1873. Her sisters were the Java, the Russia and the Cuba.

Great And Lost Ships Of The World