Sandy Hook, NJ (Off Shore) Steamer OKLAHOMA Wreck, Jan 1914


(Associated Press Telegram.)
New York, Jan 5 -- The oil tank steamer Oklahoma broke in two amidships without warning at 7:30 o'clock Sunday morning south of Sandy Hook and a large number of her crew perished.

The stern section, in which was situated all the heavy machinery of the vessel and on which there were thirty two members of the crew, sank immediately. Eight members of the crew were rescued by the Hamburg American line steamer Bavaria, whose captain says some of the Oklahoma's men told him they saw an open boat of the Oklahoma put away from the wreck with eight or ten men in it.

This information was continued in a wireless despatch[sic] received tonight by the Hamburg American line here from Captain GRAALFS of the steamer Bavaria which is proceeding to Boston with the eight survivors of the Tanker on board. The message, which came by way of Stasconset said:
"On January 5, at 6 A. M. we sighted signals of distress of a vessel. The seas were high and rough. As dawn we saw the forepart of a steamer floating on the water. It was the tank steamer Oklahoma, from New York."

"At 8 A. M. we were close to the wreck and lowered a boat with six men who succeeded, after great effort in seizing a rope which was thrown to them from the Oklahoma. The men of the Oklahoma lowered themselves into the boat quite exhausted by their experience of the last twenty-four hours."

"Captain GUNTHER stated that last Sunday at 7:30 A. M. during heavy weather and without any previous warning the ship suddenly broke in two behind the bridges. In about twenty-two minutes, the after part of the ship with a crew of 32 men sank into the deep, the stern pointed upward, with the propeller twirling. The forepart was kept afloat by the bulkhead, the stem up to the rear edge protruding from the water. The life boats either went down with the ship or were smashed immediately after the catastrophe."

"On the evening of January 4, a Spanish steamer (Probably the Manuel Calvo), had appeared in the vicinity of the Oklahoma but was unable, owing to the bad weather, to accomplish anything. Immediately after the Bavaria reached the scene this morning the United Fruit steamer Tenadores arrived at the scene of the disaster but there was nothing left to be done, the Bavaria having taken off the men. The life saving work took place in latitude 39.07 north, longitude 73.45 west."

Shortly after this message had been received by the Hamburg American line, another came from Captain GRAALFS. This said:
"According to statements made by some of the men saved, a boat from the stern part of the Oklahoma, with from eight to ten men in it, was seen. Its whereabouts is not known."

Waterloo Times-Tribune Iowa 1914-01-06


Sinking of the Oklahoma

Thanks so much for the research on this topic. As we just passed the centennial of the disaster, I was doing a bit of research on it. My great grand uncle, Capt. Loring Cates, was a passenger aboard the vessel, being transported to Texas so that he could take over the captaincy of another ship. According to a couple of newspaper items I found, he was in charge on the lifeboat mentioned in the last paragraph here, from the stern section of the Oklahoma, but he and the others in it disappeared and were never recovered.