This vessel was a steel cargo steamship built by John Crown & Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No.106) and completed in January 1902 as the SS Ada. In the next six years she was to change her name twice, first in 1905 to Svendborg and finally in 1908 to Generalconsul Elissejeff for her new owners Dansk DM Pselk of Copenhagen. The vessel measured 250.5′ x 35.8′ x 16.1′ with a net tonnage of 866 tons and gross of 1457 tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine made by MacColl & Pollock, Sunderland of 161 nhp.
The Generalconsul was on passage from Runcorn and Liverpool to Stettin with a general cargo that included burnt ore and agricultural machinery. She had left Liverpool on Friday 20 February 1914 and steamed north up the west coast to pass between Tiree and Mull and then into the Minch. Early the following morning a fire broke out in the focsle which the crew fought hard to contain but were unable to stop its spread, and the captain decided that the only course of action was to beach the vessel and abandon ship. By now the nearest landfall was the east coast of the Island of Coll where he ran the vessel ashore north of the main village of Arinagour. Once aground the crew were directed to abandon ship and await assistance. A MacBraynes steamer the Dirk stopped later on Saturday and described her ashore, with her forepart ablaze, one mile from Arinagour. He also reported men ashore near the wreck but when he offered assistance, he received no signal and left for Tobermory. Her owner’s distinctive colours, with black funnel, white band and a red Maltese cross featured in the reports of the captain of the Dirk when he reached Tobermory.
A strong south westerly wind was blowing most of Saturday which continually ground the vessel against the rocky seabed. By Sunday morning around 14’ of water was observed in the bow section although the fire had been extinguished by the waves that were continually washing over the wreck. On Monday the poor weather continued, and the wreck was now flooded stem to stern and all hatches open to the sea. Hopes of saving the vessel were slim and her crew departed for Oban on the Dirk on Tuesday 24 February. The Generalconsul later became a total wreck, and it is believed that her cargo and non-ferrous fittings were salvaged in the years after the 2nd World War along with a number of other war casualties close-by.
The Wreck Today
The wreck of the Generalconsul lies on the east coast of Coll a quarter of a mile north of Eilean Nam Muc in position 56°37.768’N, 006°29.524’W (GPS) which is approximately a mile north of the entrance to Arinagour harbour or Loch Eatharna.
The wreck, which is about 50 metres from the rocky shore, is scattered down a steep boulder slope and is well broken although substantial portions of hull are still visible indicating that she lies parallel to the shore with bow facing north. Her two huge boilers and the condenser have tumbled out of the wreck, probably during salvage, and now lie alongside the ship in 15 metres on the shingle seabed at the base of the slope. The remainder of the wreckage is spread up the slope reaching 5 or 6 metres at the shallowest part of the site. The site is not subject to any current but could be exposed to strong winds from the south or east.