The coal station of Corcubión

The coal station of Corcubión

The establishment of the General Coal Company (Plácido Castro) in the Port of Corcubión arose from the need to provide a refuelling point for steamships that travelled off Cape Finisterre. Sometimes ships were short of fuel, especially if they had to deal with storms and needed to refuel before reaching their destinations.

Ships began to arrive at the Corcubion estuary and for many years, it would be busy with boats from all nationalities. Soon consulates from different countries would be set up here, together with chandlers, tugs and navigation services, … creating a thriving industry around maritime traffic.

This flow of vessels however had a downside. The loss of quite few ships in the low dangerous shallows scattered in the bay of Corcubión. Several lighthouses and beacons were set up to avoid this risk, together with pilots that brought the vessels into the estuary.

Once inside it, the ships approached the pontoons loaded with coal. These were mostly old sailing ships now unused as merchant ships, which had been converted into pontoons or floating coal stores. Others, built expressly for this purpose, clearly show the strength of this industry in the estuary.

Over time, several of these pontoons sank and some have been discovered in recent years by divers and studied in the archaeological campaigns being carried out in the estuary.