SS Selma

WWI concrete ship, sunk after hitting a jetty outside Galveston, Texas in 1920.
by Matthew Anderson


Year Built

1919

Year Sank

1920

Depth

4 ft (1.2 m)

Difficulty Level

Novice-Intermediate


SS Selma

Wreck Location

Selma lies close to Pelican Island on the Pelican Flats. Measurements of the seafloor from Google Earth, seem to indicate Selma has sunken deep into the sand of the Pelican Flats, making the deepest accessable part of the wreck 4 feet below the waves. The ship is extremely close to the city of Galveston, only being 3 miles northeast of downtown. The wreck also lies close to the Galveston campus of Texas A&M University. The wreck also lies close to Seawolf Park. Thankfully, the wreck doesn't lie in the main shipping lanes, especially since its partially aground in only four feet of water.

~ GPS Shipwreck Location ~
Latitude:   29° 20' 39.318" N      Longitude:   -94° 47' 10.608" W

Description

SS Selma

(Photo from the National Hurricane Center.)

Selma was a Design 1100 concrete oil tanker constructed in 1919 as part of the American WWI "Emergency Fleet". Her sister ship was the Latham. Both ships were built at F.F. Ley and Company in Mobile, Alabama. Intended for use during the war, which was long since over, the Selma was sold to a private corporation and entered service as a Gulf of Mexico based oil tanker. In 1920, Selma struck a jetty off Tampico, Mexico and limped to Galveston, Texas for repairs. The ship was unable to be repaired and was abandoned by her owners. Unable to be sold off, Selma was intentionally sunk in shallow waters off Pelican Island where she still lies today.

Selma lies mostly intact with her bow higher elevated than her stern. Large holes in her sides and deck have formed over the last 90 years. Selma's stern is almost entirely underwater while the bow is above water. The superstructure is long gone and the middle "island" of the ship has corroded badly. Selma is jokingly considered the "flagship of the Texas army" and has become a local attraction. The wreck is owned by A. Pat Daniels, who was able to get the wreck to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and be recognized as an Official Texas Historical Marker by the Texas Historical Commission.

Footnotes

Selma was part of a series of ships built of concrete for the U.S. Military in the late 1910s early 1920s. Selma is of the EFC Design No. 1100 oil tanker series. During World War I, steel was a highly sought after material needed for warships and other high priority military equipment. Reinforced concrete was an easy to construct, strong and cheap alternative to steel. President Wilson approved the construction of an "Emergency Fleet" of 24 ships in 1918. Only 12 were finished, all after the war, and sold to commercial operators. Many ended up as fishing piers, breakwaters and shipwrecks. Only one is still afloat as a Powell River breakwater in British Columbia; the Peralta.




0
0

Add your comment

by Anonymous - Already have an account? Login now!
Your Rating:

Your Name:  

Comment:  
Enter the text you see in the image below
What do you see?
Can't read the image? View a new one.
Your comment will appear after being approved.

Wrecks:  All  #  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Submit a Wreck

Recent Maps

Ask a Question

Submit your own

Contribute:

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario - A Journey of Discovery Book

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is excited to announce the release of a new book titled Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery. This book contains stories of long lost shipwrecks and the journeys of the underwater explorers who found them, written by Jim Kennard with paintings by Roland Stevens and underwater imagery by Roger Pawlowski.

Buy Now!



Legend of the Lake - New Discovery Edition Book

The recent discovery of the wreck of the British warship Ontario, “the Holy Grail” of Great Lakes shipwrecks, solves several mysteries that have puzzled historians since the ship sank more than two centuries ago. Now, for the first time, the whole tragic story of the Ontario can finally be told.

Buy Now!