Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Paraguay

The 242' freighter, S. S. Paraguay, was built in 1900 to carry ore on the Great Lakes. Shortly thereafter, the Paraguay was converted to an oil tanker, plying the sea lanes in the North Atlantic Ocean. 

S.S. Paraguay, Courtesy M.W. Kates.(http://www.fleetsheet.com)

On December 4, 1927, the Paraguay (recently renamed the Kysikos) encountered a punishing gale off shore of the Outer Banks. While working the pumps in an effort to keep the embattled ship afloat, several crewmen were washed overboard by a huge wave. Early in the morning of the next day the Paraguay was driven ashore just north of Kitty Hawk. In spite of the weather, rescuers from the Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station managed to launch a life boat, and succeeded in rescuing the remaining 24 crew members.

While rehabilitating my house I discovered the following account of the Paraguay in a 1927 newspaper clipping laid down under the linoleum:

"Beachcomber Pays $100 for Wrecked ship And Expects to Realize $65,000 From It

"Underwriters of a Greek tank ship named Paraguay, which went ashore off Kitty hawk, N. C., during a storm on Dec. 4, have sold for $100 a property which is expected to yield the present owner more than $65,000.

"One of the beachcombers, who makes a practice of buying wrecks for such stores aboard as may be salvaged, paid $100 for the Paraguay. He took off wireless apparatus and stores worth $4,500 and sold the rest of the hulk to dealers in Norfolk, Va., for $1,500 or more.

"The wreck is laden with 800,000 gallons of fuel oil, and the beachcomber expects to sell this for $60,000. The former owners of the Paraguay lose nothing, since they were insured.

"Two men were lost off the Paraguay when she struck the beach. The tanker broke in half almost as soon as she hit, but the cargo section is intact and the oil still aboard. The salvager expects to have no trouble beaching the cargo."

According to Minor Kates, Jr. on his web site (http://www.fleetsheet.com/paraguay.htm), "the Kyzikos [the Paraguay] rests just offshore of Kill Devil Hills at Mile Marker 7. This site is very popular with scuba divers."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:47 AM

    My goodness journalism practices certainly have changed since then. 800,000 gallons of fuel oil intact, not a single barrel cracked and leaking on this time la bomba?? Not a blink of an eye to hear of a possible natural disaster of an oil spill waiting to occur. That is the headline but then what, oil was selling for $4 dollars a barrel?? Also Beachcomber, beachcomber, really what a cute term for a venture capitalist. He was too busy combing the beach to give his name thus hiding behind the cloak of anonymity