SS Martis

  • Nationality: British
  • Built: 1894
  • Type: Steamship
  • Tonnage: 2483 tons
  • Purpose: Cargo
  • Length: 91.5m
  • Beam: 12.7m
  • Date Sunk: 14th June 1940

SS Martis

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.


Vessel History

A British steel steamship, the SS Martis was built as the SS William Balls for W. D. C. Balls & Son, North Shields in 1894 by Readhead John & Sons Ltd., South Shields. The vessel was renamed the SS Martis in 1929 when bought by Tramp Shipping Development Co., Ltd., London. Purchased by the Admiralty in 1940, the Martis was scuttled as a blockship in East Weddell Sound on the 14th June 1940.


The bow, stern and superstructure were salvaged by Metal Industries in the 1940s (Wood 2008: 123).


Diver Surveys

The remains of a vessel measuring about  65m long by 12m beam lie on a rocky bottom in 0m – 7m of water. The wreck is oriented northwest to southeast and the stern would have been to the southeast.


Within the wreckage in the stern section, there is a valve chest with nine valves. The fore and aft holds appear to have been part filled with concrete and are inaccessible, though there are several sections of the intact structure that offer ideal swim throughs.


Parts of the midships section are visible above the water at low tide, and as noted the engine or boilers appear to have been salvaged


Side Scan Data

The site was not side scanned as most of the remains sit above the water at all states of the tide.


Back to Scapa Flow 2013 Marine Archaeology Survey Project