This work was painted in Morocco, where the artist had bought a house, Dar-el-Midfah (the House of the Cannon), at the turn of the century and where he made almost annual visits after his first journey there in 1891. He was constantly inspired by the vivid azure sea, and in 1912 painted this the most dramatic of his Moroccan sea-pictures, when he recorded the foundering of the P & O Liner S. S. Delhi in the shallow water off Sidi Cassim.
The Liner foundered on the coast of Morocco on 12th December 1911. On board were the Princess Royal, the Duke of Fife, Princess Alexandra and Princess Maud, together with a large cargo of gold and silver bullion, and a major rescue and salvage operation was launched. All the members of the Royal party were saved, at the cost of the lives of several British and French seamen. Lavery went to observe the operations, probably with Sir Reginald Lister and made several sketches (see, for example, No. 65 in the Ulster Museum exhibition, 1984).