Where are we
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rescue station of the Sea Red Cross of Arriluze, at Getxo, is housed in
one of the most emblematic buildings of the town: The Wrecked-Shipmen's
is located at the so-called Point of Begoña, at the root of the
dock of Algorta, besides the old quay of Arriluze.
House for the Wrecked-Shipmen was built in 1912 by Manuel Smith to house
the Sea Wreck Men Rescue Society of that time.
was a completely altruist and independent group formed by some local fishermen
and seamen who, even thought their short resources, went to the help of
the sailors whenever an accident occurred.
used to employ a rescue trawler named 'Ama Begoñakoa' (Holly mother
from Begoña), a breeches buoy two line throwing guns and a cannon,
pick and shovels, and some precarious wicker worked helmets.
reason for the existence of this rescue society comes from the high rate
of wrecks that occurred at the port of Bilbao along history.
Royal Orders of the time of the Catholic Kings remarked that there usually
occurred three or four shipwrecks per year at that time.
it was during the works for the construction of the iron dock, in order
to eliminate the bar, when the chief engineer Evaristo de Churruca found
the first traces that confirmed the black legend of the Abra of Bilbao.
During the dredge of the bar, some coins from times of the roman emperor
Adriano where discovered.
the fever of the iron, the british cartographers did also warn their sailors
about the Nord-West bar at the entrance to Bilbao. A tongue of sand between
the 'Mojijonera' at Areeta and Santurtzi that, till the building of the
iron dock finalized, claimed thousand of lifes.
reduced depth at this sea spot, which barely reached one meter at low tide,
shear opened the ribs of ships, leaving them at mercy of the waves and,
thus, leading them to sink with no chance.
fact, the cargo ships that used to visit Bilbao in order to load ore had
a flat hull, to avoid hitting the ground.
the channel was completely closed and the authorities and 'leman' pilots
(the old version of the port pilots of the present) had to open another
access way from the beach of 'El salto' to Santurtzi, even if this alternative
also presented the danger of getting ashore at the reefs.
Wrecked-Seamen's House also had space to house the victims of sea wrecks
but, as time passed, that area was assigned for the direction of what today
is the Autonomous Port of Bilbao. Nowadays there is no such a place in
the house, and the possible victims of an hypothetical sea wreckage would
be allocated in the Seamen's House, at Santurtzi.
Sea Red Cross was born in 1971 as an addition to the humanitarian work
of the Red Cross, absorbing the Society for the Rescue of Sea Wreck Men
inside. Its main goal would be to 'procure the rescue of those human lifes
in danger at sea, coast or inner waters'.
1973 the Society for the Rescue of Sea Wreck Men was completely integrated
within the Sea Red Cross and, since that moment, the renewal and improvement
of all their resources commenced.