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  1. Name: Matthew Cay
  2. Type of vessel: merchant steamship
  3. Flag: United Kingdom
  4. Date of sinking: 23 September 1887
  5. Cause: ran aground due to fog
  6. Location: A Carraca shallows (Finisterre)
  7. Diving level: very high
  8. GALP territory: Costa da Morte (Coast of Death)


The misfortune of the fog around Cape Finisterre

The Mathew Cay steamship was a nearly 80 metre long freighter built in 1872 by the Softley & Co. shipyard (South Shields, United Kingdom). The shipowner was Cay, Hall & Co, from North Shield.

It was heading from the Scottish port of Troon to Genoa (Italy) with a cargo of coal and iron, but fog prevented the crew seeing the A Carraca shallows, 3 miles from Cape Finisterre.

The sailors of Finisterre, who sighted the flares launched by the survivors, came to the rescue in their boats. Nine out of the 19 crew on the Mathew Cay lost their lives in the accident.

Months later, in October of the same year, the fishermen of Finisterre Angel Pazos and Agustín González were rewarded with a medal and a monetary reward for their invaluable assistance, by the British Board of Trade vessel.

Finding of the shipwreck

The shipwreck of the Mathey Cay steamship was located in 2014 by Buceo Finisterre ( following the directions of local fishermen. The structure and hull had collapsed, but the steam engine, boiler, winches and anchor gear, main and auxiliary propellers, and three large admiralty type anchors, among other remains, were preserved. The shipwreck had remained undisturbed until its discovery.

The steamship’s bell can be seen at the Museum of the Sea in Finisterre.