The steamship President was built for her first owners, James Westoll of Sunderland and employed carrying coal to various destinations on the eastern seaboard of Britain and North Sea coast of Europe until the outbreak of war in 1914. Unfortunately she found herself in a German port when war was declared and she was held by the German authorities for the duration of the hostilities. She was repatriated after the war and sold to the Abbey Line of Cardiff in 1919 who renamed her Neath Abbey. In 1921 the ship was sold again to the All-Russian Cooperative Society of London and named Vneshtorg. Finally in 1923 she was repurchased by her original owners, James Westoll, and returned to her original name. The President was a steel steamship, built by S P Austin and Son, Sunderland (Yard No 240) and launched on 12 February 1907. Her dimensions were 280.0′ x 40.5′ x 18.2′ with a gross tonnage of 1945gt.
On 29th April, 1928 the President was bound from Hamburg to Methil to load coal when she ran ashore in dense fog near Eyemouth and became a total wreck. Ashore the first alarm was raised by Wick Wireless Station who picked up her distress message at 1:301 am. “SOS off St Abbs Head.“ The captain did not know his exact position due to the terrible visibility but he knew he was near St Abbs Head. The crew of 20, including Captain Errington, hailing from Sunderland, Leith, Grangemouth, Shields and London, were able to get ashore without assistance using ladders from the ship.
A quick inspection revealed that holds 1, 2 and 3 were flooded and that the propeller was gone. A more thorough inspection later in the day by Leith Salvage Company immediately concluded that it would be impossible to refloat the ship and recommended that the ship be stripped immediately. Over the next two months various inspections by potential salvors observed the gradual deterioration of the ship which by now was lying with a substantial list to port in a very dangerous position. The President was a total wreck.
The wreckage of the President is spread across a wide area in depths ranging from 1 to 20 metres in general position 55°52.350’N, 002°04.500’W. The largest visible pieces of wreckage are her boilers which sit upright in a sandy gulley in 12 metres of water.