TRAWLER KORAAGA After Drifting All Day.
After drifting helplessly since early morning, and slowly filling with water, the trawler Koraaga sank five miles east of Black Head, Gerringong, yesterday
The vessel struck a reef off Bass Point, Shell- harbour, late on Wednesday night, and was badly holed. As she appeared likely to founder quickly, she was abandoned, and the crew of 11 rowed to Kiama, five miles away. Return- ing to the scene early yesterday morning, they were astonished to find that the incoming tide had refloated the vessel, which was rapidly drifting out to sea.
The crew, in the ship's dinghy, reached Kiama at 2 o'clock yesterday morning, and Captain James Reid, the master, reported the matter to the police. The men rested until shortly before daybreak, and then set out in a launch owned by Mr. C. Stead to retrieve their personal belongings. As they drew near the spot where the Koraaga had gone ashore they found she had disappeared, and it was feared that she had already foundered. Within a few minutes, however, the vessel was seen about a mile and a half offshore, drifting southward under the influence of a strong current and a stiff north-easterly breeze. Her trawling flags were still flying, and she gave the appearance of being under control. So much so that, several hours later, two interstate steamers passed without noticing anything amiss. By noon the trawler, now low in the water, was
several miles out to sea.
Members of the crew overtook the Koraaga
early in the morning and went on board. They found that the engineroom was flooded, and the vessel was being kept afloat by watertight compartments. There were then two possi- bilities, either that she would founder when the weight of water broke down the bulkheads, or that she would go ashore on Gerringong Beach. Word was sent to Sydney, and Cam and Sons, the owners, dispatched the trawler Charlie Cam, equipped with towing gear, to the scene. It was hoped to reach her before she went ashore or sank, and that she would have sufficient buoyancy to enable her to be towed to Sydney. She disappeared, however, before the Charlie Cam had reached the scene, and the salvage trawler was recalled.
Worn out by his all day vigil beside the sink- ing vessel, Captain Reid returned to Kiama at 4 o'clock. He reported that the trawler had heeled over and foundered an hour before, about five miles east of Black Head, Gerrin- gong, 9½ miles from Kiama. Captain Reid was on board until just before the foundering. He said that the Koraaga sank in two minutes. The trawling flags and signals were still flying when she disappeared.
LAST OP GOVERNMENT FLEET.
The Koraaga was a vessel of 221 tons gross, and was built at Middlesbrough, England, in 1915, She had been fishing near Jervis Bay, for some time and was returning to Sydney with her trawl when the grounding occurred. The owners stated last night that the vessel was insured, but not fully covered.
With the loss of the Koraaga, New South Wales has seen the last of the three trawlers with which the New South Wales Govern- ment established the State Fisheries in 1915. By a curious coincidence, all three were lost on the same coast. The Brolga became a total wreck on Cape Everard, Victoria, on August 14, 1926; and the Gunandaal on Cape Howe, practically in line with the border post, on November 4, 1929.
The Koraaga had an interesting war his- tory. In company with the Gunandaal, and with a crew from the '"mine-sweeping sec- tion" formed shortly before in Sydney, she set out on October 8, 1917, to sweep a reported mine field from Twofold Bay to a point south of Gabo Island. The sweep had been de- cided upon following the blowing up of the steamer Cumberland off Gabo Island in July of that year, and the rise of an apprehension that the raider Wolf had laid mines on that coast, an apprehension which was later amply Justified. In all, 15 mines were found. After the cessation of Government fishing activi- ties, the Koraaga was sold to Red Funnel Fisheries, Ltd. In 1929 she again changed hands, passing into the possession of Cam and Sons. On October 24 of that year she hauled up a mine which had apparently been missed in the sweep in which she had taken part 12 years before.