Author Topic: Boarded German Steamer  (Read 2983 times)

Thursday Next

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Boarded German Steamer
« on: November 14, 2011, 08:04:24 pm »
http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ADM53-37094/ADM53-37094-101_0.jpg

I am puzzled by one of the entries in the Carnarvon's logs:

26 December 1914, 5.00pm:

"Boarded German Steamer Sierra Cordova"

- and that's it.   :o  I don't understand why apparently no action was taken.  Assuming "Sierra Cordova" to be the same ship as the "Sierra Cordoba" this is her story according to the Wreck Site:

"Ruth Alexander SS was the North German Lloyd ship SIERRA CORDOBA. This was an 8,226 ton ship, 439ft x 56ft, twin screw, speed 13 knots, accommodation for 1,740 passengers. Built 1913 by A.G. Vulcan, Stettin, she sailed between Bremen, Antwerp, Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. In August 1914 she sheltered in Montevideo after delivering there prisoners from ships sunk by the German raider KRONPRINZ WILHELM.

On 18th January 1915 she left there with a cargo of coal for a rendezvous with the DRESDEN near Tierra del Fuego (The DRESDEN was the sole survivor of the Battle of the Falklands) The coal was transferred in lifeboats. February 1915 arrived Valparaiso and on 6th March 1915 left there with another load of coal for the DRESDEN, now hidden in Juan Fernandez Island. DRESDEN was later sunk th ere by HMS GLASGOW. SIERRA CORDOBA was then interned at Callao. In September 1917 she was seized by Peruvian authorities and renamed CALLAO. September 1918 towed to California for repairs after being damaged by German crew in 1917. Initially used as a US Navy transport, in 1921 she was sold to the American owned Dollar Line and chartered to the Admiral Line, Seattle for coastal passenger services. 1923 renamed RUTH ALEXANDER.

1938 Dollar Line was taken over by the US Maritime Commission and in 1939 the RUTH ALEXANDER was taken over by American President Lines, rebuilt as a cargo ship and put under the Panamanian flag. On 31st December 1941 she was sunk by Japanese torpedo bombers off Balikpapan while escaping from Manila in the of Strait Makassar."

I am completely at a loss as to why the Carnarvon did not seize the Sierra Cordova/Cordoba!

Edit: Unless it's because we were in Argentine(or Chilean?) territorial waters?  In which case it seems odd that it was permissible to board the ship?
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 08:12:20 pm by thursdaynext »

Janet Jaguar

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Re: Boarded German Steamer
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 11:28:16 pm »
I know from having patrolled the area outside NY harbor on Caronia in 1915 that British patrols of foreign ports remained outside territorial waters, which then meant everything within 3 miles of the shoreline.  They went up to Halifax whenever they needed coal or provender, but they regularly stopped and searched non-US ships coming and going; US ships were mostly left untouched.  I'm assuming that was the agreement that kept the US navy from arguing with them about their constant presence.  Three miles isn't all that much.

Although Chile and Argentina apparently welcomed them in port, so that defeats that explanation.  Odd.

Thursday Next

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Re: Boarded German Steamer
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 06:48:25 pm »
The Carnarvon is in the Strait of Magellan, and I assume she is looking for the Dresden.  I think there were all kinds of international regulations governing what could be done in neutral territories - somewhere I've read an account of a German ship that was in Norwegian territorial waters and couldn't be accosted by the British Navy - until it accidentally strayed outside the limit!

I would love to know the details of the conversation which took place between the boarding party from the Carnarvon and the master of the Sierra Cordova!

"Warship?  No, I don't think we've seen any warships - what did it look like?"

"You want to see our log book?  Unfortunately it has been lost overboard by an idiot only this morning."

Bunting Tosser

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Re: Boarded German Steamer
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 07:22:15 pm »
 ;D
Sense and nonsensibility in the one post.
Are you really Jane Austen?