09. Memorial: Spanish ship 'Carlos de Eizaguirre' May 1917
The ship was sunk during World War I between Dassen & Robben Island.
On the evening of 25 May 1917 the ship was off the Atlantic coast, steaming at a reduced speed of 5 knots (9 km/h) because there was a heavy sea. Master Fermín Luzárraga did not want to reach Cape Town before morning.
At 0330 hrs on Saturday 26 May there was an explosion on the starboard side of the ship's number two hold, breaking her back.The wireless operator transmitted a distress signal and Captain Luzárraga gave the order to abandon ship.
The ship sank in only five minutes. Only one of her eight boats was launched before she sank. It contained 24 survivors: the Second Officer, an apprentice, two passengers and 20 crewmen. Other passengers had boarded the two boats farthest aft, but the ship sank before they could be launched. Led by the Second Officer, Luis Lazaga Gómez, the crew rowed toward the light of Robben Island lighthouse and kept baling the boat as she shipped water. The heavy sea made it dangerous to approach the shore, but a tug took the lifeboat in tow and brought it to land at about 1330 hrs.
There was one other survivor. Alejandro Fernández, a member of the engine room crew, had helped to launch the life boat but had been unable to board her. Fernández jumped into the sea and swam for about two hours until he found a large piece of wooden wreckage from one of the ship's coal bunkers. After the lifeboat reached Robben Island, tugs were sent to search for the other lifeboats but they did not see Fernández.
On the morning of Sunday 27 May, Fernández sighted the coaster Langebaan and hailed her for help. Langebaan rescued him about 32 or 33 hours after Carlos de Eizaguirre was sunk.
50 passengers and 84 crew, including Captain Luzárraga, were killed. Of the approximately 106 crew members and 39 passengers, only 24 survived. According to the website below, eight bodies were washed out in Cape Town. There are eight names on the gravestone, so it is possible that they were buried here.
Date: 22 Mar 2019
Contributed by: Heather MacAlister
Size: 3 items