SS Maori

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Name: SS Maori
Owner: Shaw, Saville and Albion Company
Launched: 1893
Out of service: 5 August 1909
Fate: Sank
General characteristics
Tonnage: 5,317
Length: 402 ft (123 m)
Beam: 48 ft (15 m)
Depth: 29 ft (8.8 m)

SS Maori was a steamship of the Shaw Savill Line wrecked on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula near Cape Town in a storm on 5 August 1909 with the loss of 32 lives.[1]

She went aground a few kilometres south of the suburb of Llandudno. Everything conspired against the survivors: the coast was remote, inaccessible and very rocky and enormous rollers from the Atlantic Ocean crashed against the formidable granite cliffs that overshadowed the stricken vessel. It was late winter and the water was cold.

The wreck, lying in about 30m of water between granite boulders, has been popular with SCUBA divers since the 1960s but can be visited only when the weather is calm. The hull has been vandalized and much of the general cargo that the ship carried has been removed by souvenir hunters over the years. The cargo included crockery, rolls of linoleum, champagne and red wine. In the 1970s it was still possible to find bottles of wine scattered about the wreck in the sand. Most of these used to explode when brought to the surface. A few would survive but the wine inside them was impossibly foul.


  1. Gribble, John. The Sad Case of the ss Maori. International Council on monuments and sites.