The Savonmaa tragedy


On January 20, 1937 the Finnish steamer S/S Savonmaa was surprised by one of the fiercest storms ever recorded in the northern Atlantic. Her entire crew of 26 perished off the southern coast of Norway.

Posted on Jul 7, 2012

S/S Savonmaa was under way from her home port of Helsinki in Finland to Manchester, carrying paper, tombstones, yo-yo's and a locomotive.

29 meter per second gale winds and a frothing sea causes her to touch ground and drift towards the skerries south of the city of Mandal.

Her crew is doomed and only one man makes it ashore - the 22 year old stoker Tor Bertil Nyman. Three days later the search party finds him frozen to death.

The pyramid-shaped memorial at the site where S/S Savonmaa perished with the loss of 26 lives in January 1937. Even today, flowers are sometimes found in front of the plaque with the names of those who perished.

The Savonmaa memorial

Today the wreck of Savonmaa lies at 18-25 meters depth about 40 meters off the shore of Kneblingene, where a pyramid-shaped memorial was unveiled in august 1938 in the prescence of over 6.000 people.

The wreck was salvaged and nothing remains of the stern. The midship is flattened, but the bow section is still intact and is a wonderful sight.

Paper and even tombstones can be found among the wreckage, and it is hard to dive here without thinking about the men who perished.

The beautiful, desolate rocks on the coast have been washed by the seas since the dawn of time.

I visited the wreck of S/S Savonmaa in September 2009, and was taken to the site by Skagerrak Feriesenter who runs dive trips in the Tregde area outside Mandal.

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This 1.000 word story covers the events that took place off the southern coast of Norway on Januar 20, 1937. The database contains 20+ images of the wreck, the memorial and the plaque with the names of those who perished in this tragic accident.

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