A 1,486-tonne coke carrier proved a surprise hit with tourists in 1985 - after becoming stranded on Seaton Carew sands.
The Dutch freighter Anne Roossendaal was left grounded on the Longscar Rocks after storms battered the coast on November 9.
“We have lost an anchor and the rudder is broken,” Captain Heine Rademakers told the Mail. “But the rest of the ship seems OK.”
The Anne had been anchored off Hartlepool, waiting to deliver petroleum coke, when she was swept onto the rocks during a storm.
“We were in bed when the alarm sounded. You could feel the ship shaking and we knew she was in trouble,” said chief mate Ger Striekland.”
“We had to jump off the deck into the lifeboat. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but when you are a sailor you have to be a bit of an acrobat.”
We had to jump off the deck into the lifeboat. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but when you are a sailor you have to be a bit of an acrobat.Anne’s chief mate Ger Striekland.
The captain, however, refused to leave his vessel and vowed: “I will be staying on board until she is refloated. Under the circumstances I am well.”
Repeated attempts to re-float Anne were made over the next two weeks - with thousands of sight-seers lining the seafront to watch.
Indeed, such was the interest in the stricken ship that Hartlepool’s roads became grid-locked as tourists flocked to the town.
“At one stage during a rescue bid, traffic in both directions ground to a halt along Coronation Drive and the Front,” stated the Mail.
Tees Towing was called in to run the salvage operation but, despite their expertise, attempts to re-float Anne on November 13 proved problematic.
Indeed, when a tug repeatedly tried to pull the ship free using a 10ins thick rope, the line snapped twice - forcing the mission to be aborted.
Further attempts using 10ins thick wire also failed to shift the Anne, which suffered further damage to her hull during the failed rescue.
“The salvage team stayed on board throughout the night, working round the clock to plug leaking holes in the ship’s side,” reported the Mail.
As the time ticked by, so the captain and crew became local celebrities - and kind-hearted residents even started a collection to pay for their upkeep.
Finally, after repairs had been made and the coke for Steetley Magnesite unloaded, Anne was eventually refloated at high tide on November 27.
Even then, its misfortune continued - when she developed a gaping hole in her side while still two miles from dry dock at Sunderland.
Anne eventually returned to Holland the following month, and paid a far more routine visit to Hartlepool in 1992 - after being sold and renamed The Dina Jacoba.