The following presents new data collected as part of a recent Historic Scotland funded project – the Scapa Flow 2013 Marine Archaeology Survey – which aimed to assess the extent and condition of some of the sites around Scapa Flow.
A British steel steamship, the built by Laing James & Sons Ltd., Sunderland the SS for Harris & Dixon, London, SS Almeria was originally launched as SS Patapsco. She was subsequently renamed SS Wakefield when she was purchased by Wakefield SS. Co., Ltd. (Harris & Dixon), London. She was bought by Woodruff SS. Co., Ltd. (Woodruff, Shillito & Co.), Cardiff in 1889 Sold to the Almeria SS Co, Ltd (R. E. Morel & Co.) Cardiff in 1903, the SS Wakefield was renamed SS Almeria. She was purchased by the Admiralty in 1914 and was originally intended for use as an accommodation ship. The vessel was subsequently scuttled as a blockship in Skerry Sound on 20th February 1915.
The SS Almeria now lies in the centre of Skerry sound, abutting the wrecks of the SS Ilsenstein and the SS Emerald Wings. These are not the remains of the SS Cape Ortegal as previously recorded by Ferguson (1985: 129, 130) and Macdonald (1993: 119).
The Almeria is one of the most intact blockships at Barrier 2, lying partially broken down on a sand and rock bottom in about 8m of water. At the stern the wreckage intermingles with the remains of the SS Ilsenstein and the SS Emerald Wings, making it difficult at times to determine with which wreck the remains are associated. Standing upright, about 4m proud of the seabed, the hull of the stern is well defined and the propeller and propeller shaft can be seen.
Following the propeller shaft east along the vessel, the engine room is accessible. This contains a triple expansion engine with its associated engine wheel, various pipework and machinery and two Scotch boilers.
Though well preserved, sections of the bow have now broken off to the starboard side of the wreck and there is an anchor winch in the resultant debris.
Side Scan Data
The side scan image shows a partially broken down wreck measuring 81m long by 9m beam. The vessel is oriented east to west with the bow to the east. The wreck lies perpendicular to the remains of the bow of the Ilsenstein and the stern of the Emerald Wings, with the stern section intermingling with the wreckage from these other two vessels. As noted in the diving surveys, the highest point of the vessel is midships, which stands approximately 4m proud of the seabed. The port side appears more intact, while the remains to starboard are broken down. The section of the bow which has broken off to starboard can be seen.