Off New Jersey Coast, Liner MOWAWK Wrecks and Sinks, Jan 1935



Only One Officer of Ward
Liner Saved in Crash
Off Jersey Coast.


Anxious Relatives at Dock as
Unidentified Bodies, Some
of Women, Arrive Here.


The Steering Apparatus Went
'Haywire,' They Declare —
Talisman Blames Mohawk

With the bodies of thirty-three victims
of the sinking of the 5,896-ton
Ward liner Mohawk recovered from
the icy waters off the New Jersey
coast, where she was rammed and
sunk on Thursday night, Coast
Guard vessels continued to search
early today for the bodies of thirteen
others believed to have gone
down with the ship.
Thirty-two bodies were landed
at the City Morgue at Bellevue Hospital
last night from the Coast
Guard Cutter Icarus, serving as a
funeral barge. One other body,
that of a passenger, reached N ew
York earlier in the day aboard the
Clyde Mallory liner Algonquin,
which brought ninety-six survivors
into port.
Of the thirty-two bodies aboard
the Icarus, nine were identified as
passengers from cards and papers
in their possession. Nineteen
others were believed to have been
members of the crew of the Mohawk
which plunged bow first to
the bottom off Manasquan after a
collision with the Norwegian
freighter Talisman. Of the four
others, three were women, who
were passengers. The attempt to
identify these was suspended until
today at 2:30 A. M.

Bodies Sighted From Air

The bodies were sighted from the
air drifting in the water near the
scene of the disaster which seems
to have been caused by a mechanical
failure of the Mohawk's steering
machinery. Airplanes and
blimps soaring overhead radioed
the position of the bodies to picket
boats which picked them up and
transferred them to the Icarus.
Captain Edmund Wang, the grizzled
master of the Talisman, which
was only slightly damaged and returned
to port under her own
power, put the blame for the
strange accident upon the lost
ship which the Ward Line chartered
from the Clyde-Mallory Line
after the loss of its own ill-fated
Morro Castle and Havana.
To Captain Wang's charge that
the Ward liner, outbound for Mexico,
swung suddenly across the bow
of his diesel-engined freighter,
which also was outbound, there was
no answer from the master of t he
lost liner, Captain Joseph E . Wood.
He apparently went down with his
ship together with all but one of his

Steering Gear "Haywire"

Some members of the Mohawk's
crew, however, asserted that the
Mohawk's mechanical steering apparatus
went "haywire," just before
the collision, so that the passenger
ship was carried suddenly
directly in the path of the freighter,
which tore into her port side between
the forecastle head and the
While the faster Mohawk sailed a
full hour before the plodding
freighter, the Talisman's skipper
said she was first sighted abaft his
ship on the starboard side. Then,
he said she came up and passed
him, about half a mile to starboard.
Members of the Mohawk's crew explained
that she had stopped in the
lower bay to calibrate her compass
before proceeding southward.
An effort to fix the responsibility
for the disaster will be begun
this morning by the United States
Steamboat Inspection Service in the
Custom House. United States Attorney
Martin Conboy will have an
assistant present to determine
whether criminal prosecutions
should follow.
Meanwhile in Washington, President
Roosevelt, shocked at recent
disasters to ships under the American
flag, was reported as favoring
legislation to insure greater safety
at sea. It was said that Congress
was prepared to act quickly.

Jan. 26, 1935 edition of The New York Times