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  1. Name: Solway
  2. Type of vessel: merhant ship, passenger ship
  3. Flag: United Kingdom
  4. Date of sinking: 08 April 1843
  5. Cause: grounding
  6. Location: Baldaio shallows (Carballo)
  7. Diving level: advanced
  8. GALP territory: Costa da Morte (Coast of Death)
  9. Territorio GALP: Costa da Morte


Grounded in the dangerous Baldaio shallows

Most of the crew on board were saved after the sinking, but among the 88 people on board (45 passengers), there were 35 casualties.

Before disappearing under the sea, the Solway struck the dangerous Baldaio shallows (Carballo) several times at 12:10 p.m., sinking to a depth of about 20 metres, and about 20 minutes after the first collision, after the boilers exploded. At the time of the sinking, the masts were still sticking out of the water.

It covered the Falmouth route (south coast of Cornwall, England), via A Coruña, to the West Indies. The loss was blamed on the lack of navigational aids in A Coruña. Consequently, this port was deleted from the list of calls of the shipowner company, the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., one of the great British shipping companies of all times, popularly known as the English Royal Mail Packet Co.

The ship and the general cargo (mail and passengers) valued at about 1,300 pounds at the time, which would be equivalent to about  €113,000  today was all lost.

Its captain, C.R. Duncan, perished while organising the rescue, although some sources suggest that he committed suicide.

The sextant was recovered from the Solway shipwreck, which can be seen in the photo gallery, the first known example of this instrument in Galicia, used to measure angles and determine the position of the ship by means of the stars. It is currently kept at the Sea Museum of Galicia (Vigo), where it is being restored.

Characteristics of the Solway

Mixed steam and sail boat, with side rocker engine built by J. Caird & Co, Greenock (Port Glasgow).

Paddles, 9 knots. 400IHP 74.7 x 19.8 x 9.1m. 1700 TRB.

Wooden hull built (1841) by J. Macmillan & Co, Archibald Mcmillan, Greenock, Dumbarton.