Cargo ship driven ashore at Hartlepool in strong gales

The rescue of the Jalamanjari in 1964. Pic courtesy of Derek Hinds.

The rescue of the Jalamanjari in 1964. Pic courtesy of Derek Hinds.

0
Have your say

A 7,211-ton Indian cargo vessel made headlines in 1964 - after being driven ashore by gale-force winds on March 14.

Jalamanjari ran aground near the site of the old bathing pool at Hartlepool, prompting a call to the lifeboat for help.

The Jalamanjari aground at Hartlepool in 1964.

The Jalamanjari aground at Hartlepool in 1964.

“The vessel had anchored at Tees Bay the night before, waiting for the tide before entering the Tees,” reported the Mail.

“She had been due to go to Smith’s dry dock but, when the gale sprang up, she started dragging her anchor.”

Strong winds lashed heavy seas against Jalamanjari as she was driven away from Tees Bay and closer and closer to the shore.

After being swept into Hartlepool harbour mouth, another squall spun the ship around and lifted her into an outcrop of rocks.

She was finally driven aground broadside just off the old bathing pool, narrowly missing the Heugh Breakwater.

A report from the Hartlepool Mail in March 1964.

“She was finally driven aground broadside just off the old bathing pool, narrowly missing the Heugh Breakwater,” said the Mail.

“Hartlepool and Teesmouth lifeboats, as well as a Coastguard rescue team, stood by - but the ship was in no immediate danger.

“However, it was feared that as the tide came in, the ship could be smashed against the promenade if her anchors did not hold.”

Hartlepool-based tug Stranton made the first attempt to reach Jalamanjari, but was beaten back by the wind and heavy seas.

A tense half-hour wait then followed before a lifeboat could make a second attempt, as the tide was too low to launch her.

“The Jalamanjari was lying against the wall of rocks between Pilots’ Pier and the breakwater,” said lifeboat coxwain Tom Reed.

“This stopped the vessel being driven onto the promenade, but also made her hard to reach - as a tug could not get in close enough.”

Jalamanjari was eventually forced to spend two nights aground until, on March 16, she was finally towed off the rocks and into the Tees.

Staff from the Tees Towing Company used three tugs to secure towing lines onto the stricken ship in a gruelling 40-minute operation.

“Jalamanjari had been held fast by rocks at her stem and stern, while her middle rested on soft mud,” reported the Mail.

“It was feared that if she stayed on the rocks too long, she might break her back - but, in the event, she was safely towed away.”

Thousands of sightseers flocked to Hartlepool to view the ship, and extra police patrol cars had to be called in to control traffic.

Indeed, many people even scrambled over the rocks at low tide to walk around ship - noting how several of her plates were buckled.

“The scenes were just like Carnival Day,” one police officer said.

Jalamanjari - which had a crew of 50 under a European captain - eventually reached Tees Bay safely.