Parsborro Schooner Founders In A Terrific Gale

Captain and Members Of Crew Rescued By S.S. Wabana
( Freighter for British Empire Steel Corp) Nova Scotians Composed the Crew

Pictures and information courtesy of George Fuller

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Newspaper Article
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SS Canadian Fisher
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Emergency Certificate of British Nationality

Notes from George Fuller: here are a couple of articles from my grandma's scrapbook, concerning the shipwreck, and rescue of the crew of the schooner Eugene Owen McKay from Parsborro. I have included some photos related to the incident. The man named Bennett, in the article, was my grandfather "George C. Bennett. I have included a copy of the orginal emergency passport which was issued him in New York during the rescue transfer. The wreck date was 1928. The following is typed text of the news clipping:

Parrsboro Schooner Founders In A Terrific Gale

Captain and Members Of Crew Rescued By S.S. Wabana
( Freighter for British Empire Steel Corp) Nova Scotians Composed the Crew

Halifax, N. S. Jan/8/1928

Eight N.S. seamen are now safely treading the decks of a staunch steamer which is rapidly bearing them towards Vancouver after having gone through the most dreaded of all experiences, that of feeling their vessel sinking under them, and then when all hope had been abandoned, being snatched from a tragic death through one of those tricks of fate that are often read about, but which are conspicuous by their absence in real life.

The first intimation that there had been a near tragedy enacted in Mid Atlantic a few days ago, was received here yesterday through wireless operator Young, of the S.S. Canadian fisher. He said that his vessel had spoken to the Dominion Coal Company's steamer Wabana, a couple a day's ago, and that the latter's wireless operator had advised him , that the eight men comprising the crew of the four masted schooner Eugene Owen McKay, had been rescued, after their vessel had been rendered helpless some miles north of Bermuda on Jan. 4th, . He said that the crew were being taken to Vancouver by the Wabana.

Capt C.B. Merriman, of Parrsboro, last night stated that he the owner of the sunken vessel, had received a telegram via New York, advising him as to the details of the occurrence. Briefly they were to the effect that the Eugene Ownen McKay, had been abandoned, by her master, Capt. George Merriman, (a cousin of the owner) on Jan/1 in latitude 35.51 north, longitude 66.15 west, or about 260 miles in a north westerly direction from Bermuda.

The vessel had run into a violent storm on the same day, as the tern schooner "Maid of England" had gone to the bottom.

Laden at Terks Island with a heavy cargo of salt, the bug bear of all sailors, the staunch schooner had small chance to cope with the terrifc winds and mountainous seas, and to make matters worse, the salt settled in the pumps, chocking them to such an extent, that they were rendered useless.

With all sails blown away, and her rudder torn from its fastenings, the Eugene Owen McKay , it was intimate she drifted helplessly in the mid Atlantic for many hours , not a sail or a _________________ ? the doomed vessel began to settle.

Everything was done to keep her afloat as long as possible, but after a time, any scant vestiges of hope that may have been entertained by the heroic little band of sailors, was abandoned, and it was only a question of waiting for the end that seemed inevitable.

Sinking under their very feet, and awash from stern to stern, in the turbulent masses of green water that were shipped at every moment, the Eugene Owen McKay, was fast going to her last resting place on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, when the Wabane appeared. Signals were run up , to attract her attention, and in this the little crew was successful, for the Wabana changed her course, and bore down upon the luckless vessel.

The transfer of the eight men was effected and the rescue vessel turned about and steamed away on her original coarse, after having been instrumental in making one of the most thrilling marine rescue's in recent years.

Captain Merriman stated last night to the Harold that the men, if not taken on to Vancouver on the Wabana, will be transferred to another vessel in route. He said his vessel the Eugene Owen McKay, which was in Halifax during the month of October, was on her way to Lunenburg from Turks Island with a full cargo of salt.

Besides Captain George Merriman, among the names of some of the crew, were Llewelyn (first mate) and a man name Bennett (George C. Bennett of Kings County N. S.) who was the Cook.

It was not possible to secure the other names,