The tragic story of the T.S.M.V. Kaitawa

On a trip to Westport in May 2003 I visited the port entrance and came upon this memorial plaque to the crew of the Union Steam Ship Company's collier KAITAWA. The entrance to Westport, like it's twin port of Greymouth has many memorials to fishermen who have lost their lives crossing the bar. So I was surprised to see this memorial to so many who were not fishermen and who drowned in this one incident. I already knew something about the loss of the Kaitawa but seeing that memorial re-kindled a spark of memory, I made a note to find out more. This is what I have found out about the tragedy of the Kaitawa


Kaitawa memorial plaque at Westport harbour entrance (photograph by Roger Wincer)

T.S.M.V. Kaitawa built in Scotland 1949

Official findings and unofficial theories about the sinking

For some background about the Union Co. "AC" class colliers, and my voyage on the "KONUI" click here

Read about the last voyage of the KAITAWA

 Who was 2/O M.G. Collins?

The radio transmissions

Colour pictures of the Kaitawa

The charts in use