Wreck Information: The SS Politician was built on Tees side in 1921 one of six built for Furness, Withy and Co, London. At 9am 4th Feb 1941 she left Mersey side bound for Kingston, Jamaica In the early hours of the 5th Feb, she was steaming up the Minch between Skye and the Hebrides when the officer of the watch saw a battleship directly across the ships path. This was in fact the shore of South Uist. She was put hard to Port and entered the sound of Eriskay and at 7.40 am in a rising gale stuck a rock and sand reef running hard aground, then abandoned. She was re floated some days later by salvagers and settled onto a nearby sand bar to allow for unloading of the cargo, however a unseen rock on the bottom broke her back as she settled on to the sand. After salvage, for reasons unknown, but possibly because they were under a thick layer of fuel oil, the cargo of bank notes and the contents of Hold No 5 were left intact. However after locals were found to be removing large amounts of the Cargo. The customs and excise service decided to blow up what was left of the wreck, including the contents of Hold no 5. Over the years she has been dived by both professional divers and sports divers
Cargo: She was loaded with Cotton, Confectionary, Machete’s, motorcycle parts and many other household items plus a secret cargo of eight cases of Jamaican ten shilling, one pound and five pound notes to a value of three million pounds. However No 5 hold held what would make the Politician famous, 22,000 cases of finest Scotch whisky.
Travel & Parking directions:
Distance from harbour: Approx 3.5 k to dive site Slipway at start of causeway to Eriskay from South Uist, Outer Hebrides
Lat & Long: W 57°06.058' N 007°16.387' W
Tides: Tide tables
Dive boat: Uist outdoor centre Am Bothan Seatrek MV Cuma
Dive Shop: None near here
Accommodation: Many Bed and Breakfasts all over the Islands or bunkhouse accommodation at the Uist outdoor centre, North Uist Am Bothan
Suggested experience: Sport diver..
Other comments: The occasional intact bottles left buried in the sands still surface to this day. In 1966 a BSAC diver with a group of other divers recovered thirty-four intact bottles and in 1987 eight more bottles were salvaged and sold at auction for £4,000. The wreck is very broken up, thanks to the Customs and excise's use of sixteen sticks of dynamite used to destroy the remaining whisky bottles and the Atlantic storms which buffet the sound, but plates, ribs and prop shaft lie on the white sandy bottom of the sound and the surface can be clearly seen from the 10 m of clean water covering the wreck. Its is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 intact bottle still lie in and around the wreck being covered and uncovered beneath the shifting sands.
Created by: Lee
Links: Finstrokes forum Link
Underwater photos: By gavindiver
Dive Report: Contact me
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