SS Hispania was a Swedish 1,323 GRT triple-expansion engine steamer built in Belgium in 1912. She sank in the Sound of Mull on 18 December 1954 after striking a rock.
Hispania was built by the Antwerp Engineering Co Ltd, Hoboken, Antwerp, Belgium. She was yard number 59. Hispania was launched in 1912 and completed in December of that year. She was owned by Svenska Lloyd AB. Hispania was managed by a number of different managers, including H Metcalft, followed by K R Bökman from c1930.
During the Second World War, Hispania was seized by the French authorities. In 1940, she was on a voyage from Kaolack, Senegal via Casablanca, Morocco to Bordeaux, France with a cargo of peanuts. During the voyage, she was attacked and severely damaged. On 2 June 1940, Hispania was detained in Bordeaux. On 8 October 1940, she was seized by the Vichy Government. On 8 November 1940, an application was made to declare her as a war prize. The crew were allowed to return to Sweden in December 1940, except for her captain and a mechanic. On 15 April 1941, Hispania was declared a war prize and ownership passed to the Kriegsmarine. Svenska Lloyd AB objected to this decision. On 8 February 1942, Hispania and Sirius were ordered to sail to Rotterdam under the command of the Kriegsmarine. On 1 November 1942, the Kriegsmarine ceased command of the ship. The next day, a German Schnellboot (fast boat) attack left one dead and two seriously wounded. On 19 December 1942, Hispania was handed back to Svenska Lloyd AB on payment of RM44,017.69. She departed Rotterdam on 1 January 1943, bound for Gothenburg.
On 18 December 1954, Hispania sank after hitting a reef in a storm. Heading to Varberg, Sweden, from Liverpool she attempted to navigate through the Sound of Mull but hit the Sgeir More (Big Rock) and started to list. The order to abandon ship was given and the crew lowered the lifeboats and rowed to shore. Captain Ivan Dahn refused to leave the ship and chose to go down with it.The other twenty crew were saved. At the time, Hispania was carrying a cargo of asbestos, rubber sheeting and steel.
Owner: Svenska Lloyd AB
Operator: H Metcalfe K R Bökman (1931– )
Builder: Antwerp Engineering Co Ltd, Hoboken
Type: Cargo ship
Completed: December 1912
Tonnage: 1,323 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 236 ft 8 in (72.14 m)
Beam: 37 ft 3 in (11.35 m)
Depth: 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)
The wreck sits, intact and upright, in 85 feet (26 m) of clear water, The Hispania can be dived on only during slack water, which is between 1 and 2 hours before high or low water near the Scottish town of Oban. Located in the northern aspects of the Sound of Mull, the SS Hispania is facing the shore and close to a red channel buoy. The water temperature ranges from 14 °C in summer to as low as 5 °C in winter.
The wreck is covered in life: