Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: General Consul - Coll & Tiree


Known as the General Consul, the full name of this ship is the General Consul Elissejeffe. She was a steel hulled 886 tons steamship built by J Crown of Sunderland and launched in 1902. She was a Danish steamship, registered in Copenhagen and owned by Dansk DM Pselsk. Previous names include Svenborg and Ada, but after her sinking she was also known locally as the Eleston. She sank in the early hours of 22nd February 1914 after running aground on the east side of Coll in the Eilean nam Muc area.


On her final voyage from Liverpool to Stettin she was carrying general cargo including some agricultural machinery and burnt ore. She left Liverpool on the 19th February and initially had an unenventful journey. The night of 20th February was pitch dark with torrential rain and a gale from the south east, hindering the General Consul's progress as she steamed through the Minch. The inquiry into her sinking stated that a fire broke out in the focsle head and spread quickly, despite the best efforts of the crew to subdue the flames. The captain decided to run the vessel ashore in hope that the vessel and the lives of his crew could be saved, and altered course directly towards Coll, running ashore about 3 miles east of Arinagour. The crew reported a different story, claiming that due to a navigational error the ship had struck rocks 1.5 miles east of Arinagour at about 8pm on the 20th, having mistaken the lighted buoy off Arinagour for the Cairns of Coll. The crew report that they abandoned ship into boats but did not know how far away from land they were, so they fired a tar barrel to provide light. This revealed that they were only a short distance from the cliffs. The ship's boats were all smashed immediately on reaching the cliffs, but the crew were nonetheless able to climb ashore from there. They watched the fire spread from the lighted tar barrel to the fore part of the ship, stating that this was extinguished as the ship became partially submerged. The crew sheltered in the rocks until daybreak, when some of them were sent to find out where they were. The crew found shelter in the village of Arinagour, having suffered no casualties except that the engineer and first mate were slightly injured by the landing.


When the steamer Dirk of the MacBrayne fleet passed later on the 21st, she observed a vessel enveloped in volumes of smoke. The crew of the the General Consul had at that time landed and were seen on the rocks, but no-one appeared to be on board. The MacBrayne steamer stood by to learn if assistance was needed, but not receiving any signal, the captain proceeded to Tobermory. The wind blew from the south west on the 21st, the sea was rough and the vessel moved slightly with the Atlantic swell. Tempestuous weather was experienced over the next day. The fire was eventually extinguished on 22nd February by waves which lashed the vessel from stem to stern. By 22nd February, she was reported to have 14ft of water in the forepeak, and a big rock through the foreship, but no water was found aft at that time. On the evening of the 23rd, the stern became submerged and all the holds full of water. The hatches were gone, and the cargo floated about. Hopes of salving the vessel became very slender, and on the morning of the 24th the crew of 13 or 14 went south to Oban by the steamer Dirk. As all the General Consul's boats were smashed, the crew were unable to return to the ship to retreive their effects, which were all lost. Fortunately, the General Consul was heavily insured.


The wreck was extensively broken up by the waves and by salvage; part of her cargo of reaping machines was salvaged in 1914/15 and the propeller and non ferrous fittings are believed to have been removed during the 1950s. In addition, the wreck was examined by naval divers following a report that 8" shells have been found either in the wreckage, or nearby. Items reported to the Receiver of Wreck include a brass lock, a steel dessert spoon, and a bracket.

Dive Site Info

She now lays in a charted depth of 12-16 metres, with her boilers at her deepest point.  At low water, there is 8 metres of water over her bow and 15 metres over her stern, with her deck at an angle of about 30 degrees. The wreck lies 50 metres off the shore with her bow to the shore, approximately 1 mile north east of Loch Fatharna and 365 metres north east of Ile na Muik. She is well broken up with two distinctive boilers and a condenser having rolled away from the main wreckage. 


The site is quite sheltered with a seabed of rock and kelp which plays host to plenty of marine life, including scallops and hermit crabs with cloak anemones.

When to dive

Can be dived at any state of the tide. The site is not subject to any current but could be exposed to strong winds from the south or east.