Vanessa Maitland

Shipwreck mystery is solved

By Barbara Cole - IOL

The mystery of the Durban shipwreck that was uncovered during dredging operations to widen and deepen the harbour entrance has finally been solved.

"And it is great to put a name and a face to her," said a delighted Vanessa Maitland, the maritime archaeologist known as the Agatha Christie of the deep.

Maitland was called in by the SA Heritage Resources Agency to investigate the mystery last year.

The wreck, now identified as the Steam Ship (SS) Karin, had been buried in 3m of sand and was 1.18km from the north breakwater, lying in the shipping channel.

While it was not considered a threat to navigation, if it was not removed it would certainly have posed a threat to the modern, larger ships calling into the port after Transnet's extensive renovations.

Maitland, of Durban North, had to find out all she could about the wreck and advise on how best it could be removed.

She had to don her diving gear to get to the bottom of the mystery.