The iron steamship Stuart was launched from the Preston yard of William Allsup and Sons (Yard No 100) on 20th October 1883. She measured 170.0′ x 24.6′ x 13.1′ and her tonnage was 597 gross tons 391 net tons. She was powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine by Allsup delivering 70 registered horse power. The steamship Stuart was launched for her original owner, Mr J Bacon of Liverpool the, following Mr Bacon’s death in 1887 she was sold by his executor, Joseph Wright, to Deutche Dampfschiffahrts Geselleschaft Hansa of Hamburg who renamed her Borgfelde.
Only months after the ship was renamed she had set out from Liverpool and was en route around the Shetlands in July 1888 picking up a cargo herring from various villages around the islands intending to then steam to Stettin to sell the fish. She picked up a partial cargo at Lerwick and, on the 17th of the month, after loading more fish at Hillswick she headed to her next port of call at Burra. At this point, under the command of a local pilot, she seems to have strayed from the intended route and ran ashore at full speed near the south end of the Ness of Hillswick around 10am in the morning. She quickly began to fill and settle causing a great deal of concern among the twenty one women passengers aboard. They were workers from the fishing stations returning to their homes and families. The starboard lifeboat was quickly launched and the women were safely conveyed by two crewmen to a small rocky island close to the shore. They were safely picked up by a local fishing boat shortly afterwards. The lifeboat arrived on the scene and transferred the crew to a steamer standing by and they too were transferred to the shore. The weather was calm for days after the accident and the crew were able to make a number runs back and forth to the stranded ship to pick up their belongings and the women’s luggage before they abandoned their ship and headed to Lerwick then home. The Borgfelde became a total wreck.
The scattered wreckage of the Borgfelde lies on both sides of the reef she stranded on tumbling down the sloping rocky seabed to around 24 metres in approximate position 60° 27.065’N, 01° 29.765’W. The bow section, engine and boilers and massive propeller are reported to lie on the west side of the reef and the stern section on the eastern side.