jerv wreck


On the morning of 29 April 1965 the local residents of Stromness woke to find the four-man crew of the Jerv walking through the streets with a life-raft in tow.

Their small Norwegian whaler had been swept into Kirk Rocks in Hoy Sound that night, but the men had successfully managed to abandon the sinking ship and make it to the safety of the mainland.

The Jerv could not be saved and she broke in the heavy seas.

The Orcadian - 29 April 1965 - Norwegian Whaler lost in Hoy Sound

When the small Norwegian whaler Jerv hit the Kirk Rocks and sank in Hoy Sound early on Friday morning her crew of four paddled ashore in their rubber life-raft. They then walked the three miles to Stromness, carrying their life-raft with them. They entered the town just after dawn and among the early risers who saw them at that hour was 22 year old baker Mr Granville Swanney, Dundas Street, who was on his way to work, and who stared in amazement at the sight of the four soaked half clad seamen. The small whaler was making for Stromness when she was swept by the tide on to the Kirk Rocks. As she began to sink the crew got away in the life-raft.

Hit Skerry

Skipper Ole Knarvik Blomvag (37) told The Orcadian:

"We were coming into Stromness and we hit the Skerry about 200 yards from the shore. When the ship began to sink we took to our raft. We came ashore on the beach close to the cemetery, so we just walked into the town carrying the raft."

The vessel lay inside the Kirk Rocks on her port side, with only the starboard deck and wheelhouse showing above water. During the day equipment and fishing gear were salvaged from the vessel, which had a new £5,000 engine put into her recently. None of the crew was hurt.

Hundreds of people went by car to the west shore on Friday to see the stricken ship, and the procession continued throughout the weekend when the Jerv, rocked by the heavy swell, broke up completely. Her crew left for Aberdeen on Friday afternoon to return home to Norway.

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Date Lost: 23 April 1965
  • Type: Whaler
  • Location Hoy Sound