A severe hurricane battered Britain on the nights of 21st and 22nd December 1894.  In Ardrossan the wind was so strong that slates were torn off the roofs of houses; both North Crescent Road and South Crescent Road were flooded with sea water resulting in transport being disrupted; and the steeple of the Ardrossan Parish Church (later known as the Barony Church) was badly damaged.

Around 7pm on Friday 21st December, the Norwegian Brig Loven, struck the rocky sound between Horse Island and the Breakwater of Ardrossan Harbour. As the ship settled, it initially rolled to starboard, then to port, and as it flooded with water it swiftly began to sink. Only three of the eight men onboard managed to scramble to safety in the rigging, where they clung on for life throughout the night and most of the following day battered by freezing gale force winds and high waves.

In the hours of Saturday morning word spread that a ship had foundered on the rocky sound   between Horse Island and the Ardrossan Harbour Breakwater. Using binoculars, the harbourmaster and the harbour-manager managed to establish that there were still survivors and signalled the lifeboat crew to assemble.

After evaluating the best way to reach the men, the lifeboat Charles Skirrow was launched from the Pilot House at the noon high tide rather than its normal site at North Beach, which was deemed to be too risky. The courageous crew, under Captain D. Murphy made a valiant attempt to reach the Norwegian Brig Loven, and managed to reach the north side of Horse Island before being forced back by the gale-force north-westerly winds to the south side of the Breakwater. By 3pm the wind had dropped, and the sea had calmed a little. Six brave volunteers manned a rowing boat lent to them by Mr MacGill at the Ardrossan Shipbuilding Yard and managed to successfully reach the survivors who despite all odds had clung to the rigging for 18 hours.

The names of those who survived were:

  • C. O. Olsen, First mate, from Son, Norway.
  • Victor E. Nelson, Second mate, from Slite, Sweden
  • Sivert Mahle, able seaman, from Trondheim, Norway

The name of the deceased were:

  • Captain J. Melsom, Tǿnsberg, Norway
  • Andrew Sandbert, A.B., Nordmaling, Sweden
  • Julian Anderson, Steward, Karlshamn, Sweden
  • George Gustavus, Arendal, Norway
  • Douglas Berggren, Gothenburg, Sweden

Following the storm, the beach between Ardrossan and Portincross was strewn with the remains of the Brig Loven. In March 1895 the Norwegian Government granted second-class life-saving medals to the six volunteers who rescued the three survivors of the Norwegian Brig Loven. They were Archibald McMillan, Duncan Rodman, Neil Robertson, George Fabian and William Pllu from Saltcoats; and James Boyd from Ardrossan. On Sunday 24th March 1895 a body thought to be that of Captain Jacob Melsom was was recovered from the beach, two miles north of Ardrossan Harbour. Another body from the Loven thought to be that of the steward, Julius Anderson was recovered on Saturday 25th May.