The Fight To Save The Maanav Star

The coaster Maanav Star was washed ashore at Jury’s Gap a few hours after leaving Alsfords Wharf during Saturday / Sunday night 11/12 September. She was under new ownership having been purchased while at Rye unloading her cargo of timber. She came ashore before dawn, apparently without her engines running and was pounded by rough seas and sustained some damage to her hull. Emergency sevices were alerted and arrived on the scene in some strength. When the tide receded the coaster was left high and dry. Her holds were empty so it was decided to fill them with sea water to prevent her being washed along the shore on the following tide. Rye Fire Service, with the help of back up in the form of  water tankers completed this task before the tide returned.

Battered by a force 9 gale the ship fights for her life as she is
tossed up and down on the beach at Jury's Gap01

Force Nine winds came with the night tide. The 12 man Indian crew, who had only joined the ship at Alsford Wharf, were taken off the ship and housed in Pontins Holiday Camp until such times as the ship could be freed from the beach where she was firmly trapped. The ship survived the first night, battered but not broken. More wind came with the next tide, preparations were in hand to dig her out, a tug was arranged to tow her off on the Wednesday night at high water. This plan was altered as the weather worsened and the ship took more battering on Tuesday’s tides. Wednesday dawned bright and calm and preparations were begun to tow the Maanav Star off on the Thursday tide in daylight hours. The crew rejoined their ship to wait for the tug.02

Not the First

The Coaster Maanav Star is not the first large ship to become stranded at Camber. Possibly the largest was the Steam Ship Cracogwald which was washed onto Camber in a storm during the winter of 1908.04

004The Cracogwald, like the Maanav Star, was left high and dry as the tides got smaller. Early efforts to free the steamer from the sands were unsuccessful and eventually Rother Iron Works came to the rescue with a clever system of linking 40 gallon oil drums together. These drums were dug into the sand on both sides of the great ship and when the bigger tides came, she floated with the extra buoyancy and two large steam tugs were able to tow her free.

Not all vessels coming ashore here were so lucky, the Swedish sailing ship “Silo” (right) was blown ashore on a dark night in November 1898. Her cargo of timber was unloaded and sold locally but all attempts to re-float the vessel were unsuccessful and the fine vessel was left to be battered to pieces by the fierce winter storms.04

The Maanav Star was reportedly heading for Southampton water to pick up a cargo of vehicles bound for India. Whether she will be able to complete this task remains to be seen but as this issue of “Rye’s Own” goes to press she is still parked at Jury’s Gap, most of the time nearer the road than the sea.

Perhaps she will be freed on the next high tides or maybe she will become just another tourist attraction.

“Rye’s New” October 2004

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