(Image: Wikimedia, public domain)
Goodwin Sands off the coast of Kent in southern England has its fair share of shipwrecks, including HMS Stirling Castle and SS Montrose. But its strangest nautical victims were both called SS Mahratta, and sank in 1909 and 1939 respectively. Both had been en route from Calcutta to London when they ran aground, and after the second Mahratta sank, it was found to have settled on the wreck of its older namesake.
The First SS Mahratta
(Image: via wrecksite.eu (author unknown), public domain)
The first SS Mahratta, owned by Brocklebank Line, was launched in 1891 and served as a troopship during the Boer War. She foundered on the Goodwin Sands on Good Friday, April 9, 1909, while steaming to London from Calcutta, India. As locals asserted their salvage rights, much to the frustration of customs officers, the west wind picked-up and the wreck listed to port. A Board of Trade inquiry blamed the pilot for taking an incorrect route through the channel.
The Second SS Mahratta
The second SS Mahratta, also owned by the Brocklebank Line, was launched in 1917. She ran aground on Goodwin sands on October 9, 1939, less than a mile from the wreck site of the first Mahratta. Like her namesake before her, she was en route from Calcutta to London.
By chance, when the second SS Mahratta broke in half the following day, salvage crews found the ship resting on top of the wreck of the first Mahratta, which had sunk 30 years prior.
Pride of Canterbury Ferry Incident
On January 31, 2008 the passenger ferry Pride of Canterbury struck the wreck of the SS Mahratta while maneuvering into a holding position during severe weather. It is unclear whether the ferry (later repaired) struck the first or second Mahratta.