Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks


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The Most Amazing Historical Discoveries of 2018

From a 13,000-year-old brewery to a long-lost ancient city supposedly built by Trojan War captives, it was an eventful year for historical discoveries. As the year comes to a close, take a look back at some of the ways history made news this year.1. A human ...read more

The Titanic: Before and After Photos

The R.M.S. Titanic has gone down as one of the most famous ships in history for its lavish design and tragic fate. It was a massive 46,000-ton ship, measuring 882 feet long and 175 feet high. The "Ship of Dreams" included a swimming pool, gym, Turkish baths, a ...read more

What Sunk the Confederate Submarine the Hunley?

It was the first submarine in history to successfully sink an enemy ship. Made out of 40 feet of bulletproof iron, the H.L. Hunley was a Confederate submarine with a crew of eight. But despite its claim to fame, it was a dangerous vessel to be inside. In a career of just eight ...read more

Is This the Wreck of the Last U.S. Slave Ship?

More than 50 years after the international slave trade was outlawed in the United States, an Alabama plantation owner bet a friend that he could smuggle in a group of slaves from Africa aboard an 86-foot sailboat named the Clotilda. But in July 1860, on their way back to Alabama ...read more

The True Stories That Inspired ‘Titanic’ Movie Characters

You probably already knew that Jack and Rose, the main characters in the 1997 movie Titanic, weren’t real. Like all films “based on a true story,” the movie added its own fictional elements to historical events. But during the film, Jack and Rose do run into several characters ...read more

You Can Visit the Titanic—But Only if You Act Fast

Since the sinking of the Titanic on the fateful night of April 14, 1912 (in which more than 1,500 people lost their lives), it’s estimated that fewer than 200 people have visited its final resting place. The last crewed mission was in 2005, while a remote-operated vehicle ...read more

The Sinking of Andrea Doria

Though not the largest or fastest ocean liner of its era, the 697-foot Andrea Doria was widely regarded as the most beautiful. Its decks were dotted with three outdoor swimming pools, and it was dubbed a “floating art gallery” for its dazzling array of paintings, tapestries and ...read more

5 Famous Shipwrecks Still Waiting to be Discovered

1. Santa Maria Christopher Columbus famously set sail on his first voyage to the Americas with three ships—the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria—but only two returned to Spain. On Christmas Eve 1492, the sailor charged with steering the flagship Santa Maria handed the wheel ...read more

5 Maritime Disasters You Might Not Know About

1. The Wilhelm Gustloff (1945): The deadliest shipwreck in historyOn January 30, 1945, some 9,000 people perished aboard this German ocean liner after it was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine and sank in the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea. The Gustloff, named for a Nazi leader ...read more

Passenger ferry, Estonia, sinks, killing 852

On September 28, 1994, 852 people die in one of the worst maritime disasters of the century when the Estonia, a large car-and-passenger ferry, sinks in the Baltic Sea. The German-built ship was traveling on an overnight cruise from Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, to ...read more

American vessel sunk by sperm whale

The American whaler Essex, which hailed from Nantucket, Massachusetts, is attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America. The 238-ton Essex was in pursuit of sperm whales, specifically the precious oil and bone that could be derived from ...read more

Ships collide off Newfoundland, killing 322

Sudden and heavy fog causes two ships to collide, killing 322 people off the coast of Newfoundland on September 27, 1854. The Arctic was a luxury ship, built in 1850 to carry passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. It had a wooden hull and could reach speeds of up to 13 knots per ...read more

Russian sub, the “Kursk,” sinks with 118 onboard

A Russian nuclear submarine sinks to the bottom of the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000; all 118 crew members are later found dead. The exact cause of the disaster remains unknown. Kursk left port on August 10 to take part in war games with the Russian military. Russian ships, ...read more

Rocket causes deadly fire on aircraft carrier

A fire on a United States Navy carrier stationed off the coast of Vietnam kills 134 service members on July 29, 1967. The deadly fire on the USS Forrestal began with the accidental launch of a rocket.During the Vietnam War, the USS Forrestal was often stationed off the coast ...read more

Hurricane sinks Spanish treasure ships

A hurricane strikes the east coast of Florida, sinking 10 Spanish treasure ships and killing nearly 1,000 people, on July 31, 1715. All of the gold and silver onboard at the time would not be recovered until 250 years later.From 1701, Spain sent fleets of ships to the ...read more

Hundreds drown in Eastland disaster

On July 24, 1915, the steamer Eastland overturns in the Chicago River, drowning between 800 and 850 of its passengers who were heading to a picnic. The disaster was caused by serious problems with the boat’s design, which were known but never remedied. The Eastland was owned by ...read more


(7) Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma, Sunk June 6, 1942 during the Battle of Midway, Approximate Location 29 ° 20’0”N, 173 ° 30’0”E:

It was the second among the four Mogami-class Japanese heavy cruisers. Mikuma had a displacement of 13,668 tons, length of 650 ft (198 m), beam of 66 ft (20.2m), draft of 19 ft (5.9m) and a speed of 34.9 knots (64.7 kmph).

Mikuma participated in the occupation of Fench Indochina. At the time of Attack on Pearl Harbor, she took part in the invasion of Malaya (now Malaysia). She also took part in the invasion of British Borneo and covered the landings of Japanese troops at Kuching and Miri in Malaya. She also took part in the Sumatra and Java landings and in the Battle of Sunda Strait in February 1942.

During the Battle of Midway, Mikuma and another Japanese cruiser Mogami collided during a bad maneuver to avoid a submarine attack from USS Tambor on June 5, 1942. Mogami rammed the portside of Mikuma and Mogami’s bow was severly damaged. Mikuma was spilling oil from her portside due to her oil tanks were ruptured. As the morning sky brightened up a bit at 04:12, US submarine Tambor’s Commander John Murphy was certain that Mikuma and Mogami were Japanese ships. But Tambor was unsuccessful in the attack. Eight Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from the Midway atoll also missed their targets. On June 6, 1942, 31 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers from USS Hornet and USS Enterprise attacked the Japanese Navy and Mikuma was hit by five bombs. Not being able to salvage her, she was scuttled the next day by a Japanese vessel. 240 Japanese combatants were rescued by three Japanese warships but 650 men went down with Mikuma.

Image Used: Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma sinking on June 6, 1942


Oops there goes our perfectly seaworthy ship

On December 5, 1872, the Mary Celeste was found abandoned and in disarray 400 miles east of the Azores. One of its two pumps had been disassembled, its charts were scattered, and it had taken on about 3.5 feet of water, though it was still seaworthy. Its lifeboat was missing and its cargo of 1,701 barrels of industrial alcohol had been left behind.

The fate of the Mary Celeste's crew has been a mystery ever since. According to Smithsonian, theories range from the ridiculous (sea monsters) to the plausible (mutiny and pirates). Fortunately, the human race is mostly more rational than it used to be, so we can rule out sea monsters pretty much offhand. Because the cargo was intact, we can also rule out pirates, unless they were seriously inept pirates. So what happened to the Mary Celeste?

A 2002 investigation may have found some information. The sea had been stormy, and only one of the Mary Celeste's two pumps was operational, which means it would have been difficult for the captain to know how much water his ship had taken on. The log noted they were in sight of land, so it seems logical, if there was uncertainty about whether the ship would float or sink, that an abandon ship order would have come at that time. That doesn't explain what actually happened to the crew after they abandoned ship . but it's a start.


Latest Updates

Greek ship carrying parts of the Parthenon is giving up more secrets

Divers discover lost WWII submarine wreck off Southeast Asia

Divers in Southeast Asia have located the lost wreck of what's thought to be a U.S. Navy submarine that sank in 1943 after it was attacked by Japanese aircraft.

Mysterious Mexican wreck was an illegal slave ship

Archaeologists have identified the wreck of a Mexican steamer as La Union, an illegal slave ship that smuggled the Maya as cargo to Cuba.

An aurora that lit up the sky over the Titanic might explain why it sank

A geomagnetic storm that sparked spectacular aurora displays could also have contributed to the sinking of the Titanic.

Wreck of WWII warship with Nazi symbol discovered off Norway

The wreck of a German warship torpedoed and sunk by a British submarine in 1940 has been discovered in deep water off the North Sea coast of southern Norway.

Salvagers may cut open the Titanic and pull out its 'voice', judge rules

RMS Titanic Inc., an official salvager of the Titanic shipwreck, will now be allowed to cut open the ship and remove its telegraph.

Explorers find Cold War-era submarine wreck off the coast of Oahu

A team of explorers have found the wreck of a United States Navy submarine that sank more than 60 years ago in deep water near the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Titanic's iconic telegraph 'voice' may be recovered. But some say the salvager is a 'greedy treasure hunter.'

Frantic distress messages were sent over the machine after the cruise liner slammed into an iceberg in 1912.

Bermuda Triangle theory busted: 1925 ship Cotopaxi found near Florida

Artifacts found by divers at the shipwreck hinted that these are the remains of the SS Cotopaxi.

Famous World War I Battleship Discovered at the Bottom of the Atlantic

The wreck of one of the most famous German warships of World War I has been located on the seafloor near the Falkland Islands, where it sank in a battle with British warships more than 100 years ago.

Wreck of Famous British Sub Sunk by Germans in WWII Discovered Off Malta

The wreck of a Royal Navy submarine that mysteriously disappeared with 44 people on board during World War II has been discovered off the Mediterranean island of Malta.

Czar's Booze Discovered on Ship Sunk by a U-Boat in the Baltic Sea in 1917

Hundreds of bottles of cognac and Benedictine liqueur have been salvaged from a ship sunk by a German U-boat in the Baltic Sea in 1917.

17th-Century Dutch Smugglers' Shipwreck Comes to Life in Virtual Reality

A virtual dive of a 17th-century shipwreck explores the remains of a ship used by the Dutch to secretly trade with Iceland.


Shipwreck

A shipwreck is the wreckage of a ship that is located either beached on land or sunken to the bottom of a body of water. Shipwrecking may be intentional or unintentional. Angela Croome reported in January 1999 that there were approximately three million shipwrecks worldwide. [1] (an estimate rapidly endorsed by UNESCO [2] [3] and other organizations [4] ).


10 Famous Shipwrecks Found

On August 8, 2000, 136 years after she sank with all hands, the Confederate submarine, the Hunley, was raised to the surface. Throughout history, men have built famous ships, and many of those ships have found their way to the bottom of the sea. Some of the shipwrecks have been found and either raised, salvaged, explored, or made into shrines. Here we list 10 of the most famous ones.

Digging Deeper

10. Sultana, 1865 .

About 1,800 lives were lost when this Mississippi side-wheel steamboat’s boiler blew up in 1865. Her wreck lay undiscovered until 1982, when it was found in a soybean field outside of Memphis, Tennessee about 2 miles from the river. The remains of the ship were found under more than 30 feet of soil. She had been carrying many Union soldiers who had just been released from Confederate prisoner-of-war camps. Almost 800 of those killed came from Ohio, and around 500 of the dead hailed from Indiana.

9. HMS Pandora, 1791

A relatively small ship, the brig was only a bit over 114 feet long and 32 feet wide. Sent to find the mutineers from the HMS Bounty , the Pandora rounded up 14 of them on Tahiti but failed to find the rest despite months of searching. She ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and sank, killing 4 of the prisoners and 31 crew members. The surviving 89 crewmen and 10 prisoners set out in 4 small open boats for Timor, arriving in Kupang 17 days later. On the way, 16 more men died. The wreck was located by an Australian anti-submarine airplane in 1977 and has since become one of the most famous wreck sites in the Southern Hemisphere.

8. Medusa, 1816.

A French frigate and veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, the Medusa (or Meduse in French) was carrying passengers when she ran aground off the coast of Africa. When the ship appeared to be in danger of coming apart, the crew got into 2 launches, and the passengers were loaded onto a large makeshift raft (20 by 7 meters). The raft held 146 men and 1 woman and quickly proved to be of dubious seaworthiness. The crew in the 2 launches found towing the raft impractical and fearing the irate people on the raft, cut the doomed raft free. The hell that ensued on the raft was memorialized in a famous painting by Theodore Gericault called The Raft of the Medusa ( Le Radeau de la Meduse ). The “hell” we refer to was 13 days of suicide, murder, cannibalism and fierce thirst, leaving only 15 survivors. The wreck of the ship was found in 1980. Artifacts from the wreck are on display in the Marine Museum in Paris.

7. Edmund Fitzgerald, 1975.

All 29 crewmen died when the big ship went down in the “gales of November” in 1975, and Gordon Lightfoot made sure no one forgot about it in his 1976 smash hit song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald . Located by a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion anti-submarine plane only 4 days after her loss, the Great Lakes ore boat was found 530 feet beneath Lake Superior. At 729 feet long, 75 feet wide and drawing 25 feet of water, she was “bigger than most” of the Great Lakes ships, and in her 17-year career had traveled over a million miles. Despite numerous dives to the wreck, the cause of the ship’s sinking remains debated, with several theories presented.

6. Bismarck, 1941.

The wreckage of the mighty Bismarck was finally found in 1989 by the same oceanographer who located the Titanic . Bismarck sits more than 15,000 feet below the surface, pretty much intact and in good shape considering the hundreds of shells and several torpedoes that hit her. Analysis of the wreckage shows that the claims of Bismarck survivors that the ship was actually scuttled by the crew are true, much to the chagrin of the Royal Navy that likes to think it alone is responsible for the sinking.

The ill-fated submarine was the first to successfully (kind of) sink an enemy ship in combat. Unfortunately, the explosion that sank the USS Housatonic is probably what also sank the Hunley , costing the entire crew their lives. Incredibly, the submarine had already sunk twice before during trial runs.

4. USS Monitor, 1862.

The famous combatant from the Battle of the Ironclads at Hampton Roads in the American Civil War was found in 1973 and has been partially salvaged. The USS Monitor had been designed for coastal waters and port protection, and was lost at sea in rough water while being towed. The remains of the ship can be seen in the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

3. USS Arizona, 1941 .

Sunk in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor during the aerial surprise attack of December 7, 1941 (“a date that will live in infamy”), the USS Arizona has been allowed to remain there, visible from above, as a national shrine.

2. Nuestra Señora de Atocha, 1622.

Carrying a spectacular quantity of gold, silver and gems taken from Spain’s South American empire, t his Spanish treasure ship is the stuff of dreams . Sunk in only 55 feet of water off the Florida Keys in a hurricane, Spain mounted a salvage effort but failed to find the wreck. Her sister ship was found and salvaged (about 50%), but it was not until 1985 when an American treasure hunter found the Nuestra Señora de Atocha after having looked for her for more than 16 years. The treasure is so vast and spectacular, and one ring alone is worth $500,000! The total value of the treasure has been estimated from anywhere between $450 million and $7.5 billion.

The giant, fast-moving luxury cruiser was said to be unsinkable. The Titanic turned out to be quite sinkable, however, when she hit an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage. Discovered in 1985 at a depth of 12,415 feet, remote control submersibles have been used to salvage artifacts. In 1986 the first manned expeditions to the wreck of the Titanic were made. Relics from this wreck can be seen at the Luxor Las Vegas Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The wreck itself is in bad shape and rapidly getting worse the steel hull being eaten up by iron-eating bacteria.

Question for students (and subscribers): Which ones would you add to the list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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World War I

June 2018 marked the start of the 100th anniversary of World War I off the North Carolina coast. To honor the anniversary and the men who fought and died during World War I off our shore, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary actively conducts research on World War I and the ships that sank off our coast. Visit our World War I webpage to learn the history, discover the shipwrecks, and visit often as new data and images are added. If you want to dive a little deeper, click here to read the full document, The Enemy in Home Waters&mdashHow World War I Came Home to North Carolina.

Click here to request more information on these shipwrecks or future maritime heritage projects.


Nameless Ship

Sometime in the early to middle 1800s, a copper-plated wooden vessel sank 200 miles (321 kilometers) off the coast into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In 2011, a seafloor survey by oil giant Shell noticed a blip in a sonar survey. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched a mission to investigate, and, in 2012, discovered the rotting hull, a ship's stove and a variety of ceramic plates and glass bottles. National Geographic reported that later visits to the wreck revealed muskets, cannons and eyeglasses. The wreck could be anything from a passenger vessel to a pirate ship, the magazine reported.


We mapped every major shipwreck at the Graveyard of the Pacific

In 1906 the full-rigged British bark Peter Iredale ran aground on open beach north of Seaside. This photo, taken shortly after the incident, shows the size of the ship in comparison to a horse and buggy. There were no lives lost. Oregonian File Photo

The Pacific Northwest coastline has long been fraught with danger, threatening all who dare to set sail off its shores. One area in particular has become so notorious over the centuries that it’s earned a grim moniker all its own: the Graveyard of the Pacific.

To give some sense of this level of danger, The Oregonian/OregonLive has mapped 238 of the most significant shipwrecks near the mouth of the Columbia River and along the Oregon and Washington coast, between 1725 and 2005, pulled from one of the definitive texts on the subject: “Pacific Graveyard” by James Gibbs.

The author, maritime historian and lighthouse keeper in the Pacific Northwest wrote about shipwrecks up and down the Pacific coast. Gibbs served as a lighthouse keeper at the Tillamook Rock Light on the north Oregon coast, and built his own private lighthouse, the Cleft of the Rock Light, near Yachats. He wrote more than a dozen books in his career, and “Pacific Graveyard” was among his best known.

The shipwrecks he tracked down around the Columbia River entrance resulted in at least 535 deaths, though the toll is likely much higher. Historical records of some shipwrecks simply say that “all lives were lost,” and are counted here as one fatality for lack of better information.

There were also many more incidents than the map indicates. The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria estimates approximately 2,000 vessels have sunk in the area since 1792, including many smaller boats that wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia. This map shows some of the most dramatic and deadly shipwrecks that occurred as settler colonists began to arrive to the region in droves over the 19th century, continuing as industry increased shipping traffic in the Pacific Northwest the following century.

The Admiral Benson steamship went aground on Peacock Spit at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1930. All passengers were rescued but the ship was a total loss. Frank Sterrett/Oregonian File Photo

Remains of the Emily G. Reed remain on Rockaway Beach, occasionally exposed by shifting sands. The sailing vessel ran aground and broke apart in 1910, killing eight people onboard. Courtesy of Don Best

For generations earlier, the stormy river mouth was part of an area populated by the Clatsop tribe of the Chinookan peoples, a group of interconnected indigenous communities who lived along the lower Columbia River.

The Chinook were highly skilled at navigating the body of water that many on its lower stretches called wimahl, meaning “big river,” using dugout canoes carved from enormous cedar logs. Europeans and Americans, who first entered the river mouth in 1792, struggled mightily in their massive ships, losing many lives on their quest to expand industry and white settlement to the Pacific Northwest.

Over the ensuing two centuries, there were many tragedies, much wreckage and a fair amount of drama as ships crashed, burned and exploded on their way up what would soon become the Oregon and Washington coast.

This 72-foot cannery tender, Susan, of Sitka, Alaska, washed ashore on Peacock Spit in 1952, abandoned by underwriters as a total loss. Oregonian File Photo

The sun sets over the wreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

The “graveyard” is considered to range from Tillamook Bay in Oregon up the Washington coast to Vancouver Island, an area that’s home to many rocky reefs and shorelines. But perhaps the most treacherous area lies at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Straddling the border between Oregon and Washington, the mighty river mouth is home to shifting sand bars, high seas and heavy winds that combine to create a nightmare for ships entering from the ocean.

The number of annual shipwrecks peaked in the middle of the 19th century, but continued to be a regular problem into the 1960s. The advent of GPS and its preceding technological advancements helped maritime navigation immensely, effectively ending the age of shipwrecks at the mouth of the river.

That doesn’t mean the Graveyard of the Pacific became safe. Even today, vessels entering the mouth of the river are guided by the Columbia River Bar Pilots, an organization founded in 1846 to help keep ships afloat. The U.S. Coast Guard also stays busy rescuing vessels in distress – at the beginning of crabbing season this past February, rescuers saved crews from three fishing boats in one day.

Although the major shipwreck era has passed, the stormy, violent nature of the Pacific Northwest coast ensures that the Graveyard of the Pacific remains very much alive.

Below is an additional map of some of the most notable shipwrecks in the area, including the more deadly incidents.


The Titanic sank in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, but the wreck wasn't discovered until 1985.

The story of the Titanic is well-known. While sailing from Southampton, England, to New York, the ship — deemed one of the most luxurious and safe ships ever built — hit an iceberg and sank off the coast of Newfoundland, taking more than 1,500 lives.

The ship, the world's largest at the time, was on its maiden voyage, headed from Southampton, England, to New York City.

The tragedy made headlines across the world and inspired an Oscar-winning movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The port bow railing of the RMS Titanic lies in 12,600 feet of water about 400 miles east of Nova Scotia.


Watch the video: Searching For The Oldest Shipwrecks In The World - Documentary