The Liner President Madison Capsizes in Seattle Harbour 1933

by John M. MacFarlane 2012

President Madison

The liner President Madison capsized in Seattle harbour. (Photo from Nauticapedia collection.)

The liner President Madison capsized in Seattle harbour on the evening of March 23, 1933 at the Todd Seattle drydock repair wharf.

Four shell plates had been removed from the vessel’s side opening upwards of 684 square feet. The lowest point in the cut was about 4 feet above the waterline. Lumber was being loaded from a scow alongside while repairs were underway. It was thought that the pull of the loaded scow on the ebb tide caused a starboard list movement accelerated by the movement of oil and water in tanks in the fore peak, wing tanks, settlers and double bottoms.

As the starboard list exceeded seven degrees, water rushed in to the opening in the hull. The ship careened and lay partially submerged with her superstructure jammed against the dock. A large number of stevedores on the scow scrambled to safety. More than a hundred crew were caught below decks. Three Chinese crew members were rescued through port holes. The engine room storekeeper was rescued after 17 hours. The Junior Engineer was killed in the engine room.

She was re-floated about three weeks later in what was described as the largest salvage operation completed in an American port to that time. The operation to right her was carried out by E.F. ’Jack’ Cribb, the Managing Director of the West Coast Salvage & contracting Co. of Vancouver BC. The Madison lay idle for more than six years. Soon after returning to service under the Philippine flag she was lost in a second capsize tragedy losing yet another life.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2012) The Liner President Madison Capsizes in Seattle Harbour 1933. 2012.

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