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  SS Matunga (SS Zweena)

Passenger Ship / Cargo

1,618 Tons
83.21m x 11.29m x ?

Ship History
Built by Napier & Miller Ltd. in Glasgow, Scotland during 1900. Purchased by Mersey Steam Shipping Co. Ltd., in Liverpool, England as SS Zweena.

During 1909, sold to Burns, Philp & Co. Ltd. and registered in Australia as SS Matunga and operated in Australia and New Guinea as a passenger and cargo ship.

She was was three hundred miles off Rabaul when she radioed her destination and expected time of arrival - and mentioned her cargo - five hundred tons of coal, and, more important to the townsfolk of Rabaul, a months liquor supply.

Capture
During August 1917 departed bound for Rabaul under the command of Captain Alex Donaldson loaded with 500 tons of coal and a month's supply of liquor. When 300 miles away, she radioed her expected time of arrival. This radio message was intercepted by German Raider SMS Wolf (Wolf IV) disguised as a steamer stalked the vessel.

On August 6, 1917 SMS Wolf fired a warning shot across her bow and SS Matunga surrendered without resistance. The capture happened roughly 300 miles east of Riche Island.

Captured were forty-six crew and passengers aboard became Prisoners Of War (POWs). Afterwards, the pair steamed for a week until reaching Offak Bay (Fofak Bay) at Waigeo Island where 500 tons of coal and liquor were transferred aboard SMS Wolf.

When SS Matunga failed to arrive at Rabaul, HMAS Encounter searched for the missing ship. At the time, it was not known it was captured until 1918.

Sinking History
On August 26, 1917 Matunga was scuttled using charges set with a fuse and sank few miles out to sea.

References
WreckSite SS Matunga
Passengers In History - Matunga

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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