This vessel had originally been launched as the Twin in November 1931 from the yard of E J Smit and Zoon, Westerbroek, Netherlands (Yard No 638). She was a small steel motor cargo vessel of 240 gt. with dimensions of 136.7′ x 21.2′ x 7.9′. She was powered by a single diesel engine of 230nhp.
The Maria W was en route from Ghent to Scrabster with a cargo of fertiliser when she ran into a thick fog bank off the Scottish east coast. Unfamiliar with the coastline and with visibility reduced to almost nil the ship, with a crew of four men under the command of J P Weber, the son of one of the owners, ran onto rocks near Whinnyfold at 3:30am on 22nd February 1966.
At first, with engines set full astern the master managed to pull the ship off the rocks but almost immediately ran aground again and, this second time as she crashed across more rocks, her propeller was stripped from its shaft and she was left helpless, buffeted by the swell close in shore. The vessels approach to the shore had been observed by the local coastguard who fired flares and flashed a lamp in a bid to warn the crew of the ship of the danger ahead but the poor visibility obscured these signals and she crashed ashore. The coastguard immediately summoned the Cruden Bay rocket apparatus crew who were soon on their way to the wreck. Unaware their plight had been noticed ashore, her crew sent up distress flares and sent out radio SOS messages to summon assistance. Their distress messages were picked up by the Grimsby trawler Real Madrid who succeeded in finding the stranded ship and directing the Peterhead lifeboat, which had launched at 4:00am, to the scene of the wreck. In the meantime four of the crew had taken to their liferaft as they feared the ship might break up before help arrived. The master bravely stayed aboard continuously sending out the SOS message. The four men clung desperately to the side of their ship to avoid being swept ashore onto the rocks. Thankfully the lifeboat reached them only fifteen minutes after they had taken to their liferaft and quickly took the men aboard. They then brought off the master before they headed back to harbour leaving the ship bumping on the rocks in the swell. They were safely landed at Peterhead at 5:20am less than two hours after the Maria W had run aground.
The weather in the days following the grounding deteriorated and the Maria W was pounded by a heavy easterly swell. She was lying almost at right angles to the shore with her bow pointing to sea. She was awash at all states of the tide with a large hole in her hull and moving badly on the rocks. She became a total wreck.
The scattered wreckage of the Maria W lies where she ran aground in approximate position 57°23.486’N, 001°51.400’W (WGS84) in rocky gulleys in depths of up to 6 metres. The large diesel engine is the most recognisable feature.