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22 August 2016

S.S. Kooraka in peril off Jervis Bay.

July 1947. Kooraka  saved from disaster by the actions of the captain and crew of the trawler Korowa.

S.S Kooraka.
imagePublic Domain - REF: SLSA

8.30pm July 17 -  in dark and dangerous conditions the 300 ton S.S Koraka was caught in a fierce storm 6 miles off Jervis Bay,  pounded by 30 to 40ft waves breaking onto it’s hatches, the Kooraka’s steering gear broke away under the strain of the relentless pounding.
There was a real chance the Kooraka could drift ashore and become a total wreck putting life and limb in real peril.  The captain immediately ordered flash signals,  flashed by Morse Lamp.

9.p.m - An unknown steamer attracted by the signals approached,  but when the Korowa appeared at 9p.m. the other ship left.

The crew of the Kooraka attempted unsuccessfully twice to throw a line attached to a buoy to the trawler.
Each time a terrific sea swept the buoy beyond reach.

3. a.m – The Korawa came along side and a line was taken aboard.

Seaman B. Summers who was at the wheel when the Kooraka broke away,  paid tribute to Captain T. Webb and the crew of the Korowa in bringing their vessel so close.


”providence must have had a hand in preventing a seemingly certain collision.”  he said.


4. 30 a.m. - The trawler Korowa towed the Kooraka safely into Sydney Harbour.




Paying high tribute to the captain and crew of the steam trawler Korowa,  Mr Justice Abbott awarded 3,300 pounds to it’s owners and 2,100 pounds to the ship’s company,  for services rendered in the salvaging of the South Australian vessel Kooraka.
The owner (Red Funnel Trawler Pty.) master and crew of the Korowa had sued the ship Kooraka,  it;s cargo and freight for a salvage award for services rendered to the Kooraka near Jervis Bay NSW, on July 17 and 18,  1947.

The Kooraka was worth about 20,000 pounds and it’s cargo 5,000 pounds; the Korowa about 25,000 pounds and it’s cargo 345 pounds.



In his summary his honour said.
” Clearly the Korowa was a very important factor in the salvage operations.  Without it’s trawling warp,  and high engine rating,  probably nothing could have been successfully accomplished.
Also nothing could have been accomplished but for the initiative,  courage,  and determination of the captain, efficiently backed by his officers  and crew”



The Kooraka, 300 gross tons. Lb: 135 x 24 ft. (41.2 x 7.6 metres). Steel, single screw motorship built by George Brown & Co in Greenock, Scotland, in 1925. Arrived Australia August 1925 for Coast Steamship Ltd. Day passengers only (10). Serviced Yorke Peninsular run on an irregular basis. Requisitioned as RAN Minesweeper during World War 2.  Ref: Flotilla

imageThe Korowa, 324 tons gross WWII auxiliary minesweeper HMAS KOROWA was one of the Sydney-based Red Funnel Trawlers Ltd vessels requisitioned by the RAN at the outbreak of war. With the RAN, fitted with a 12-pounder gun and minesweeping gear, she was attached to Minesweeping Group 66 based at Fremantle, Western Australia.
After WWII she returned to the fishing industry until 1954, when she was sold for scrapping.

REF: https://www.flickr.com/photos/41311545@N05/4705358584





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