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Latitude 50° 22N
Longitude 004° 11.10 W
Location Description Devonport
Reference NMR 876444
Craft type Fireship
Date built 8th Novenber 1692 captured from French
Year of loss 25th February 1693
Manner of loss Fire
Outcome Total loss
Construction Wood
Propulsion Sail
Nationality United Kingdom
Departure port Plymouth
Destination port Plymouth
Hull length 78ft
Hull beam 23ft
Hull displacement 174
Armament 8 x minions
Crew 45
Built St Malo, France
Master Edward Rigby
Owners Royal Navy

Fireship Mermaid (1693)

The Mermaid began her career as the 8 gun French privateer Le Sirene / Le Joseph, built in St Malo and was captured by the Adventure on the 21st October 1692.

The vessel was not commissioned but was taken up and converted to a fireship. There was already a Mermaid in service in the Royal Navy at that time, a 5th rate commissioned in 1690 and broken up in 1706.

Mermaid was burnt by accident on the 25th February 1693 while fitting out at Plymouth Dockyard. The captain's servant dropped a candle in the store room, this set the ship on fire and burnt her to the waterline before she sank.

It is not known if the vessel was salvaged.

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In Larn's Shipwreck Index there is also a mention of a 5th rate 32 gun frigate HMS Mermaid wrecked by accident near Plymouth on 5th January 1699. This is the rebuilt HMS mermaid mentioned above, but she was not wrecked, between 1699 and 1700 she was a guard ship at Plymouth.

 

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