St Austell Bay Gallery
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Maria Asumpta, Charlestown, Cornwall. August 1991
The tall ship Maria Asumpta enters Charlestown harbour. The oldest sailing ship in the world still sailing at that time, was invited to the port by the Charlestown Heritage and Trading Company. She spent two days in the port and acted as the venue for a sea shanty festival. The ship was launched at Badalona, Spain, in 1858 and was used to ship textiles between Argentina and Spain. Renamed Pepita in the 1930s, Cuidad de Inca in 1953, she was given back her original name in 1988. In 1995 the Maria Asumpta was on her first voyage after a refit in Gloucester when she hit bad weather and on the afternoon of 30th May prepared to enter Padstow harbour. The captain, Mark Litchfield, decided to sail between The Mouls and Pentire Point, not a route recommended by the Admiralty, she hit rocks and the crew abandoned ship with three men losing their lives. Mr Litchfield was charged with manslaughter due to gross negligence, was found guilty and jailed for 18 months. Photographer: Jonathan Barker
© RIC, photographer Jonathan Barker