The steamship Vulcan was making its way from St. Petersburg in Russia to Bremen in Germany with a cargo of 500 tonnes of rye. On 28 May 1873, the steamship capsized and sank off the coast of Fårö on the island of Gotland. The 18-man-strong crew was successfully rescued. A few weeks later, there was a so-called stranded ship auction in Fårösund for two small ship’s boats, sails, blocks, cordage and other items.
The steamship Vulcan was laden with cereals from the port of Kronstadt, outside St. Petersburg in Russia. Since the Middle Ages, vessels have transported cereals from the Baltic Sea region to Western Europe.
Modern steamers displaced sailing ships in the late 19th century. The ships transitioned from being propelled by sails and wind to coal and steam. The new machines were not entirely trusted, however, and so ship masts were kept for a short period of time despite the existence of the steam engine. It is during this period that the Vulcan was built and crossed the Baltic Sea.
Maritime archaeologists from the National Maritime and Transport Museums dived on the Vulcan wreck in 2018. Because of the cultural history value and description of the Upplevelsevärdena, the County Administrative Board of Gotland declared the Vulcan an ancient monument.
Research about these ships is lacking, which made this initiative important for the history of maritime trade. The Vulcan can give us information and stories about a time when the industrial revolution began to take off and change the world forever.
The Vulcan was built in 1872 in Bremen, Germany, by AG Weser, with building number 20 with a twin-cylinder compound machine of 110 horsepower. The ship measures 44 metres long. The owner at the time of sinking was Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft (DMG) Neptun in Bremen.