Daily Event for December 3

April 10, 1860 the Mona's Isle was launched at Tod & McGregor's shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland. She was a
iron hulled sidewheeler grossing 339 tons, was 226' long with a beam of 22'. In 1883 the ship was converted
from sidewheel propulsion to twin screws with a new 600 horsepower compound engine, this increased her
tonnage to 375. Her name had also been changed, to Ellan Vannin.

The ship was built for the Island of Man Steam Packet Company which today is the oldest continuously operating
passenger shipping company in the world (founded June 30, 1830). She piled the Irish Sea between Ramsey
and Liverpool for almost 40 years until Dec. 3, 1909.

At 01:13 on that morning the Ellan Vannin departed from Ramsey for Liverpool as usual, her captain, James Teare, who had 18 years experience at sea noticed the weather was moderate and that the pressure was
falling but expected no problems making the crossing. On board were 14 passengers (some sources say 15)
and 21 crewmen.

As the night went on the weather worsened and by 06:35 when the Ellan Vannin was approaching the Mersey
Bar light ship a force 11 gale was blowing. Waves were reported as high as 20 feet and the small ship was
crashed by one or more of them. This was far more than the ship could withstand and she filled with water at
the stern and sank rapidly. Nothing is known about exactly what happened on board because there were no
survivors. Her wreck was blown up because it caused a navigation hazard, but some parts of the ship still remain where she sank. The captain's body was found in Jan. 1910 washed up on Ainsdale beach near Southport, England.


© 2007 Michael W. Pocock

The Ellan Vannin


MaritimeQuest received this message and photo in April 2007:

This photo below is of my great grandmother (center), either on the Ellan Vannin or the Mona's Isle as it was called before being renamed. The picture was given to the crew at the turn of the last century and is on a hard board mount. A few of the faces include the later to become Capt. James Teare (far left seated) who died when the Ellan Vannin sank in the Mersey in 1909. My family survived as they were not to sail the day the disaster occurred.

My great-grandfather was suspended the night before they sailed because he was engaged to my great-grandmother within a year of his first wife dying, which in those days was seen as disrespectful, this saved them both (certainly him as he actually had a crew member step in for him) and it was in the Manx papers some years ago.

Reiner Kraft
Seattle, Washington


Crew members on the Ellan Vannin, date unknown.

(Photo courtesy of Reiner Kraft)


2006 Daily Event