The Saint Oran was a stern engined coaster, built at Bowling in 1911 by Scott & Sons (Yard No.230). The steel hull had dimensions of 122.0’ x 21.6’ x 9.4 with tonnage of 237 gross and 89 net. The Saint Oran was powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine developing 35 nhp supplied by Fisher & Company of Paisley. The vessels official number was 132996. At the time of her loss she was owned by J & A Gardner of Glasgow, and worked mainly between ports in Scotland and Northern Ireland, delivering bulk cargoes such as coal.
The Saint Oran had loaded a cargo of coal during the afternoon of 29 December 1920, and as she left Troon in the early evening Captain Mitchell noted that visibility in the Firth was poor. The coaster headed south for Turnberry passing the Heads of Ayr and Dunure on the journey south towards Larne. At around 12.30am the following morning, few miles south west of Turnberry Lighthouse the lights of an inbound vessel suddenly appeared out of the gloom, unable to alter course in time, both vessels came into collision with the Saint Oran being so badly holed that she began to sink almost immediately. The Saint Oran eventually sank around 02.20am on 30 December. Fortunately the other vessel, the Belfast owned steamer Eveleen remained afloat and took the 8 crew of the Saint Oran aboard, they were later landed safely at Ayr. The Eveleen sustained damage to her bow.
The following day a lifeboat containing a lifebelt marked Saint Oran – Glasgow, the ship’s register, cargo book and official log was found afloat 4 miles south east of Ailsa Craig.
The Wreck Today
The wreck of the Saint Oran lies in position 55° 17.667’N, 04° 56.654’W (GPS), approximately 4 miles north west of Girvan harbour. The wreck is oriented approximately 010°/190° with bow pointing south. Depths on the wreck are between 45-46 metres with general seabed depths of around 48-49 metres.
The hull is substantially intact, with the basic form of focsle, hold and stern engine room and accommodation still clearly in place. All deck structures, the funnel and mast have long since collapsed. Note there is netting draped over the bow section.