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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 831058

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NR16SE 8001 c. 185 617

N55 46 W6 29.3

NLO: Machir Bay [name: NR 197 626].

Formerly entered as Site no. 9110 at cited location NR 1856 6170 (N55 46 W6 29.25).

(Photographs, location map, transits and drawings of armament reproduced).

S Blackburn 1986.

Quality of fix = PA

Horizontal Datum = OGB

General water depth = 16

Circumstances of Loss Details


The ORTRANTO was built in 1909. It drifted ashore and was totally wrecked following collision with P&O liner KASHMIR. It was owned at the time of loss by the Orient Steam Navigation Co. The vessel had been taken over as an auxiliary cruiser and armed. It was being used to transport American troops to France. Many lives were lost.

Source: Dictionary of Disasters at Sea.

The rescue of most of survivors was done by HMS MOUNSEY.

Surveying Details


16 October 1918. The wreck's position was given as 6 miles N of Orsay Island.

Report by Commanding Officer, HMS MOUNSEY.

4 September 1967. Only the propellor, prop shaft and engine block remain. Mr Jessop wishes to purchase this wreck. The Ministry of Transport will try and obtain the exact position from Mr Jessop.

Report from a telephone communication via the Ministry of Transport.

14 August 1978. The wreck was located in Machir Bay, at 55 46 00N, 006 29 00W approximately, by sub aqua divers. It contains motor bikes, army vehicles, and locomotives.

Report by Staff Diving Officer, FOSNI.

17 November 1982. The wreck is badly broken up and spread over an area of about 100 square metres. The deepest part lies in about 16 metres, due west of the old radar tower. The boiler is the highest part coming to within 9 metres of the surface. The site is littered with live shells. The site is owned by Tim Epps, Port Charlotte Hotel, Islay.

Report by Excersie Scoobie Scoop, 3-17 September 1982.

(The position given is 55 46 00N, 006 29 15W approximately).

Hydrographic Office 1995.

(Classified as armed merchant cruiser of steel construction, carrying army stores: date of loss cited as 5 October 1918). Otranto: this vessel drifted ashore in Machair [Machir] Bay after being in collision (Kashmir). Capt. Davidson.

Registration: London. Built 1909. 12124grt. Length: 160m. Beam: 20m.

(Location of loss cited as N55 45.77 W6 28.67).

I G Whittaker 1998.

The published photographs (taken both before and after conversion for war service) illustrate a large passenger liner with a near-straight stem and cruiser stern. The greater part of her length is taken up by a lengthy superstructure, which has two funnels, numerous lifeboats and a small bridge. Masts forward and aft indicate the locations of two holds forward and, possbly, a third aft. There is no focsle structure as such, but the ship has a small poop.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 23 July 2003.

S Blackburn 1986.

Material reported under RoW amnesty (2001):

A146 1 porthole ring, 18ins diameter (name cited as Otranto, Machir Bay, Islay)

A252 1 14cm brass nut (from seabed, possibly from this wreck).

NMRS, MS/829/33.

Material reported under RoW amnesty (2001):

A1385 iron nut and bolt: from seabed

A1791 1 telephone, 1 shellcase: from seabed

A2883 1 shellcase: from seabed

A3708 1 hand guard of sword: from seabed

A4274 2 portholes, 6 shell cases: from seabed.

NMRS, MS/829/35.

The location assigned to this record is essentially tentative.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 12 February 2010.

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