Nobody knows why this shipwreck on the Yorkshire coast ran aground

The Yorkshire coast is littered with shipwrecks - yet the remains of a fishing trawler still visible today represent one of the area's biggest maritime mysteries of modern times.

The wreck of the Scarborough-based Admiral von Tromp lie on the sands of Saltwick Bay, near Whitby, where the vessel sank in October 1976.

Only one man knows the true reason why the fishing boat was lost while miles off course - and he went down with the trawler.

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The von Tromp's captain Frankie Taal and his crew set off from Scarborough Harbour at 1am on the fateful night. The pierman later told an inquest that the men's behaviour was normal and that they all seemed sober. Taal was heading for the Barnacle Bank fishing grounds, 45 miles north-east of the town. He set the trawler's course before going to bed, leaving experienced crewmate John Addison at the wheel.

Taal woke up to the vessel bumping and heeling. Another fisherman, John Marton, thought they had been in collision with something - it seemed impossible to the crew that their vessel had foundered on the rocks of Black Nab near Saltwick Bay, 90 degrees off their course and notorious as the worst reef on the coast.

The captain challenged Addison, who appeared stunned and barely spoke. The weather was fine, if foggy, and the boat had enough fuel. They had been heading directly away from the coast. According to a nautical surveyor who spoke at the inquest, even if the vessel had been left to its own devices, it would not have ended up on the rocks without human intervention.

Taal had to moved a still-stunned Addison out of the way to try and salvage the situation, and the crew put lifejackets on the boat listed and began to fill with water.

The rescue was difficult, as heavy swell prevented the men from hanging onto the side of the boat, and they retreated to the wheelhouse to await assistance. After an hour, their heads reached the ceiling, and they had to swim through a window to escape the rising water. Addison had drowned already, and crewman George Eves died when he was swept off the roof by a large wave.

The Whitby lifeboat attended the scene, but struggled to get close enough to safely reach the crew. The vessels were even touching at one point, but rocket lines thrown to the men failed as they were still inside the wheelhouse.

Taal was washed overboard but plucked from the water by the crew of the in-shore lifeboat. The two other men were washed ashore and survived.

Addison's post-mortem showed no traces of drugs or alcohol, and he had been overheard saying 'Oh Alan!' to Marton in a quiet, apologetic voice just before the accident. He had seemed stunned and inert. His body was washed up in Runswick Bay.

A silver medal was awarded to RNLI coxswain Robert Allen, who had tried to anchor and drift towards the trawler to reach the men. Helmsman of the in-shore lifeboat Richard Robinson was also honoured for rescuing Taal.