The Vinga was a 430nt steel cargo steamship, built by Lindholmens Verkstads A/B of Gothenburg, Sweden (Yard No 374) and launched in 1900 for Angfartygs A/B Commerce of Gothenburg. Her dimensions were 191.0? x 30.6? x 12.3?. The Vinga was powered by a triple expansion steam engine of 93 hp. She had a number of name and ownership changes throughout her life, becoming the Erica in 1917, the Sundmar in 1923, the Latava in 1933 and finally in 1937 – Tobago under Latvian ownership.
Due to wartime reporting restrictions information about the loss of the Tobago is vague with conflicting reports of where she went ashore. On the 30 July 1940 the Tobago was in Reykjavik awaiting repairs to her stern following a collision with a HM trawler. The repairs were completed on 2 August and she sailed for Ardrossan with a cargo of dried fish on 8 August.
The next information received by Lloyd’s was on 13 August from the British steamship Highwood which reported the Tobago ashore in position 55° 44’N 06° 30’W. The Highwood remained with the Tobago and requested a salvage tug be sent from Campbeltown. The same day Lloyd’s agent in Port Ellen sent a telegram stating “Latvian steamer Tobago is ashore off Rhinns of Islay, vessel is awash, no prospect of refloating and feared total wreck, all crew safe”.
The following day a message attributed from Hoylake states “Tobago with cargo of dried fish lies sunk at foot of cliff 500 feet high, one mile south of Lossit Bay on uneven rocks, foredeck submerged six feet at high water, very exposed position, seas pounding superstructure and vessel has suffered serious damage – our officer making further examination at low water but salvage considered hopeless”. The last message notes that the salvage tug was being recalled to Campbeltown.
It is likely that the Tobago broke up where she lay south of Lossit Bay and probably saw some salvaged after WWII. This is the most exposed section of coastline around Islay with strong tidal movement and exposed to the full force of Atlantic storms. It is thought that any remains of the Tobago will lie south of Lossit, in approximate position 55° 42.373’N 06° 30.120’W. During our searches around Islay we were unable to find any trace of this vessel, although we did manage to locate the remains of the Agios Minas close by.