Mourning the Coryndon

It’s five decades since the fall of a big water vessel in Uganda and East Africa, when vast of the dotcom era had never been born. The Robert  Coryndonship, built in 1930 sunk in the waters of Lake Albert in 1964, due to heavy storms in Butiaba, Buliisa district. Robert SS Coryndon, a former British Governor in the Government of Uganda had perished in a plane crash after fulfilling his dream, a “Floating Hotel”. The “moving hotel”  had been built to serve Britain, Egypt, Congo,Sudan and the whole of East Africa. During the 1930s the ship ferried passengers and cargo across Lake Albert before it sank; the ultra modern high class vessel, was once described by Sir Winston Churchhill as “the best library afloat” and Ernest Hemingway called it the “magnificence on water”.

The remains of the Robert Coryndon ship before it disappeared for scrap

The East African Railways and Harbors (EAR&H), the in-charge then offered the wrecked for sale in 1967. But by the first decade of the 21st century, the  partly submerged Robert Coryndon had not been recouped from the lake. The wrecked high class vessel of the world in East Africa submerged in Butiaba, a former port at lake Albert which holds a fisher community, neighbors the Democratic Congo (DRC), masindi and Hoima districts respectively. It’s been grounded deep for more than twenty feet from the Lake Albert water levels since then to date. The East African Railways and Harbors abandoned it and since then it instead became a scrap for gold source for years. It has changed hands from unscrupulous people who have been taking it away in bits and pieces by cutting all the metal remains for scrap.

A diver gets ready for action

Having never seen a (big boat) ship in my entire life and having heard of it in my school years, I recently came face to face with the remains of the submerged Robert Coryndon vessel. My very first encounter was the time I found it actually grounded, recently, almost halfway. It feels very sad and most of all losing that historical resource, a great historical and tourist piece that many have never seen in their lives and will perhaps never see. Having seen the the one-time towering floating hotel once in my life while still in existence is one pain i am dealing with now. But so is that there will be nothing more to show of an existing great goods and passenger carrier of East Africa, the world, because it’s non-existence for now.

The remains of the waiting shade above and top

Despite recent reports that Uganda should and is on the 2012 list of destinations for tourism, this modern high class floating hotel should have been a great contribution to Uganda’s must visit, (see Why Uganda should be on your must-see list Exciting tourism prospects in 2012 especially in this now-oil rich region of the Albertine. The Coryndon vessel would probably be the ideal transporter of oil products from the Butiaba port to other destinations.


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