Another mishap occurred at Portlethen in this year but unlike the one involving the Garrawalt three months previously, this ended more favourably with the vessel escaping damage and being able to continue on its journey.
In the month of June the steamship Croma ran aground on a “sunken ledge of rocks” about half a mile from Portlethen Village. It’s safe to assume that these “rocks” were those that make up the notorious Craigmarroin which has claimed countless victims over the years.
This was a big vessel of gross weight of 3170 tons and possibly one of the largest, if not the largest ship to have gone aground in our area. There were a crew of thirty one as well as two passengers on this particular voyage.
Apparently the mate was in charge when the vessel came “right on the land” on a morning of dense fog. She was held by her bows, which were slightly damaged, but being fitted with water-tight bulkheads no water was able to penetrate the fore hold. Tugs got to the scene early and by 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the tide being nearly at its fullest point, the Croma was successfully towed off the rocks and was able to proceed on her journey to Leith.
I’ve worked out that there were five main factors here that contributed in making this story have a happy ending. Firstly it happened in daylight, secondly it occurred in the summer months, thirdly the weather was relatively calm, fourthly the vessel was of sound and sturdy design and finally there was a quick reaction by the salvagers in working quickly to rescue the Croma and pull her free off the rocks. Had any one of these circumstances been different we could easily have been looking at the biggest single shipping disaster to occur off the north Kincardineshire coast in living memory.