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From Titanic to Dimitrios: 15 tragic shipwrecks caught on camera

·8-min read

At any given time, cruise ships can be found docked in various locations around the world; however, not all of these ships are in imminent danger of sinking. In many cases, these vessels were simply caught while posing a threat to themselves. And were thus prevented from sinking! Nonetheless, it's worth looking at the fifteen shipwrecks that have been captured on camera over time.

Sweepstakes, Ontario, Canada

tobermory boat under the water
tobermory boat under the water

More than 25 shipwrecks can be found in Tobermory, Ontario. Sweepstakes, a 119-foot schooner sunk in 1885 after colliding with a rock, is the most well-known. Sweepstakes stayed in the harbour for a few weeks before being towed in. The schooner was stripped of any usable rigging and machinery after being inspected and found to have suffered irreparable injury. Her hull, windlass, and a portion of the initial bow rail are all in good condition.

Kodiak Queen, British Virgin Islands

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The Kodiak Queen was one of the only ships to survive the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the spring of 2017, the ship was purposefully sunk in the British Virgin Islands to act as a human-made scuba diving site. The now-submerged structure is not only an underwater reef and marine habitat, but its eye-catching artworks continue to lure deep-sea divers.

Bessie White, New York, USA

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The coal schooner Bessie White runs aground on Fire Island in the early twentieth century. Hurricane Sandy uncovered the hull of a Canadian ship after it hit the United States in 2012. The wreck can be visited by taking a ferry from Long Island, although visibility is seasonal.

Hilma Hooker, Bonaire, Caribbean

(GERMANY OUT) Scuba diver on the Hilma Hooker Ship Wreck, Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Caribbean Sea  (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Scuba diver on the Hilma Hooker Ship Wreck, Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, Caribbean Sea (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The Hilma Hooker was a 236-foot-long Dutch freighter that sank in 1975. What happened to the ship after it sank is the subject of many tales. It was charged with drug smuggling and found carrying a vast amount of pot through a fictitious bulkhead. The ship was finally abandoned without being manned. It was said to have been included in a drug distribution trial as evidence. In 1984, the ship was moved to a dive site and began to sink five days later. It is also part of the Bonaire National Marine Park, which attracts divers.

Dimitrios, Peloponnese, Greece

GYTHIO, GREECE - AUGUST 12: View of The Dimitrios shipwreck on Valtaki beach on August 12, 2020 in Gythio, Greece. (Photo by Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images)
GYTHIO, GREECE - AUGUST 12: View of The Dimitrios shipwreck on Valtaki beach on August 12, 2020 in Gythio, Greece. (Photo by Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images)

On the Peloponnese's eastern shore, the Greek shipwreck Dimitrios can be found. How the ship got there is a bit of a mystery. According to some sources, it was used for tobacco smuggling and then burned to conceal the facts, whilst others say it was abandoned. Whatever the case might be, the Dimitrios has been lurking on these shores since 1981, slowly floating out to its present place. It's now a famous wreck for photographers due to its proximity to the ocean.

Corpach Wreck, Fort William, Scotland, UK

Corpach shipwreck at Loch Linnhe
Corpach shipwreck at Loch Linnhe

The 1975-built MV Dayspring used to transport mackerel and herring to the Scottish Highlands' shores. It had been safely moored for over a decade before it ran aground on December 8, 2011, during a hurricane. The last time it was released was in the early 2000s. Photographers come from all around the world to capture the Corpach Wreck, which can be seen in the distance with Britain's tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.

Peter Iredale, Oregon, USA

The Shipwreck of Peter Iredale in Oregon located at Fort Stevens State Park
The Shipwreck of Peter Iredale in Oregon located at Fort Stevens State Park

The Peter Iredale ran aground off the Oregon coast in 1906 due to strong winds. Through the sand, the rusted and barnacle-encrusted bow and masts can be seen. The ship is one of the Pacific Graveyard's most well-known shipwrecks. It's near the Columbia River's mouth in Fort Stevens State Park. When the tide is out, you may walk on up to the ship and examine it.

MV Captayannis, Helensburgh, Scotland, UK

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In 1974, the Greek sugar-carrying ship MV Captayannis sunk in the River Clyde. The vessel was compelled to roll onto her port side by the violent wind, and she remains that way decades later. The wreck has never been removed, and it is now a renowned tourism and diving destination.

Garðar BA 64, Westfjords, Iceland

An old rusted steel shipwreck sits on an Icelandic beach.
An old rusted steel shipwreck sits on an Icelandic beach.

The Garðar BA 64 was launched in 1912, the same year that the Titanic sunk. The former whaling voyage, known as Globe IV, is more than a century old and rusting away in the breathtaking surroundings of Iceland's west coast. The ship has been aground in Skápadalur Valley since 1981 when it was taken out of operations.

SS Maheno, Queensland, Australia

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Getty images

The SS Maheno, which was built in 1905, was one of the first turbine-powered steamers. She was converted to a hospital ship in Europe after World War I. She was on her way to a Japanese wrecking yard in 1935 when a cyclone hit her. On Queensland's Fraser Island, her hull is the most famous ruin. Due to the salty conditions on the island, the wreck is deteriorating rapidly, but the skeleton is still fascinating to see.

Eduard Bohlen, Namibia

The Eduard Bohlen wreck, a supply ship for the miners that ran aground in 1909 on the Skeleton Coast, Namibia. Its steel hull and the channel they dug to try and re-float it can still be seen.
The Eduard Bohlen wreck, a supply ship for the miners that ran aground in 1909 on the Skeleton Coast, Namibia. Its steel hull and the channel they dug to try and re-float it can still be seen.

The Skeleton Coast of Namibia is littered with thousands of shipwrecked vessels. The Eduard Bohlen is stranded in the middle of the desert, a quarter-mile from the coast. The boats, a former German freighter, ran aground while en route to Table Bay, most likely due to dense fog. When the desert encroached on the harbour, the ship was found in an unexpected position in the sand years later.

SS Francisco Morazan, Michigan, USA

1960 shipwreck in Lake Michigan, declared a total loss, owner never identified.
1960 shipwreck in Lake Michigan, declared a total loss, owner never identified.

In the 1920s, the SS Francisco Morazan was designed for German owners. She was due to fly from Chicago to the Netherlands for the last time in November 1960. Powerful waves, fog, and heavy snow caused the ship to run around 300 feet off the southwest coast of South Manitou Island, Michigan. Shortly after, the crew disembarked, and the vessel has remained there ever since, attracting a wide range of bird species. You might take a stroll along the beach to get a better view of the boats or borrow a kayak to get a closer glimpse.

Zeila, Namibia

Abandoned and derelict old shipwreck Zeila at the Atlantic Coast near Swakopmund and Henties Bay, famous Skeleton Coast in Namibia, Africa. Group of cormorants birds perching on rusted ship.
Abandoned and derelict old shipwreck Zeila at the Atlantic Coast near Swakopmund and Henties Bay, famous Skeleton Coast in Namibia, Africa. Group of cormorants birds perching on rusted ship.

In August 2008, the fishing trawler Zeila ran aground south of Hentiesbaai, Namibia. The vessel was sold as scrap metal to an Indian firm, but it became stranded when its towing line broke. Even if the sea is too rough to step foot on the sinking hull, the Zeila is now one of the most open wrecks along the Namibian coast.

Mary Rose, Portsmouth, England, UK

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - JULY 19: Visitors view the hull of Henry VIII's warship, the Mary Rose after a £5.4m museum revamp on July 19, 2016 in Portsmouth, England. The ship, which was raised from the Solent in 1982, was launched in Portsmouth in 1511 and sank in 1545 at the Battle of the Solent, (Photo by Olivia Harris/Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - JULY 19: Visitors view the hull of Henry VIII's warship, the Mary Rose after a £5.4m museum revamp on July 19, 2016 in Portsmouth, England. The ship, which was raised from the Solent in 1982, was launched in Portsmouth in 1511 and sank in 1545 at the Battle of the Solent, (Photo by Olivia Harris/Getty Images)

Henry VIII's favourite warship, the Mary Rose, sank in the Battle of the Solent in 1545. She served at sea for 34 years, seeing significant incidents such as sending troops to northern England for the Battle of Flodden and attacking the French fleet at Brest. In 1982, the Mary Rose was retrieved from the seabed and is now kept in Portsmouth's Mary Rose Museum. More than 19,000 items were recovered from the rubble, including human remains, clothes, and arms.

RMS Titanic, Canada

RMS Titanic passenger liner of the White Star Line. From The Story of 25 Eventful Years in Pictures, published 1935. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
RMS Titanic passenger liner of the White Star Line. From The Story of 25 Eventful Years in Pictures, published 1935. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

The RMS Titanic sank in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people. The debris of the Titanic was only discovered in 1985 when it was found that the ship had fallen up! In August 2019, divers explored the ruin for the first time in 15 years and discovered it was rotting owing to bacteria and salt corrosion. The officer's quarters on the starboard side have disappeared, and the divers suspect the ship will soon be lost almost.