List of shipwrecks of Africa

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This is a list of shipwrecks located in or around the continent of Africa.

The shipwreck of HMS Birkenhead, near Cape Town, South Africa, 1852.

East Africa[edit]

Eritrea[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Black Assarca shipwreck A wreck discovered at Black Assarca Island in 1995, believed to date to the early 7th century. It was excavated in 1997, and found to hold a cargo of amphoras.

Kenya[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Globe Star 27 April 1973 A cargo ship that ran aground off Mombasa.[1] 4°04′54″S 39°43′12″E / 4.0818°S 39.72°E / -4.0818; 39.72 (Globe Star (ship))
HMS Gulland 13 April 1951 A 545-ton Isles-class trawler built for World War II. It ran aground three miles (5 km) north of Mombasa. 04°02′50″S 39°43′57″E / 4.04722°S 39.73250°E / -4.04722; 39.73250 (HMS Gulland (T239))
MV Mtongwe 27 April 1994 A Likoni and Mombasa route ferry that capsized due to overcrowding off Kilindini Harbour. 270 people lost their lives.[2]

Mozambique[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Katina P 26 April 1992 A Greek oil tanker that was damaged in a storm, spilling several thousand tonnes of oil. 25°35′S 32°59′E / 25.583°S 32.983°E / -25.583; 32.983 (Katina P)
Sunny South 20 February 1861 An American-built extreme clipper sold to Havana and put to work in the slave trade. It was captured by the Royal Navy and used as a store ship, before striking a reef and sinking at Mayotte. 13°02′53″S 45°11′42″E / 13.048°S 45.195°E / -13.048; 45.195

Somalia[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
MS Achille Lauro 2 December 1994 A cruise ship that was hijacked in 1985 by the Palestine Liberation Front. It ultimately sank after an explosion in the engine room started a fire that engulfed the ship. 2°N 47°E / 2°N 47°E / 2; 47 (MS Achille Lauro)
U-852 3 May 1944 A Type IXD2 U-boat that was attacked by British aircraft and run aground near Bayla. 9°32′N 50°59′E / 9.533°N 50.983°E / 9.533; 50.983 (German submarine U-852)

Tanzania[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
SMS Königsberg 11 July 1915 A Königsberg-class light cruiser that was sunk in the Rufiji River.[1][3] 7°52′6″S 39°14′24″E / 7.86833°S 39.24000°E / -7.86833; 39.24000 (SMS Königsberg (1905))
HMS Pegasus 20 September 1914 A Pelorus-class protected cruiser that was sunk at Zanzibar by SMS Königsberg.[1][3] 6°8′54″S 39°11′36″E / 6.14833°S 39.19333°E / -6.14833; 39.19333 (HMS Pegasus (1897))
MV Spice Islander I 10 September 2011 A RORO ferry that sank between Unguja and Pemba Island, with the loss of at least 200 lives. 5°39′23″S 39°28′27″E / 5.65639°S 39.47417°E / -5.65639; 39.47417 (MV Spice Islander I)

Lake Victoria[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
MV Bukoba 21 May 1996 A Lake Victoria ferry that sank off Mwanza with over 200 confirmed dead. 1°59′2″S 32°19′7″E / 1.98389°S 32.31861°E / -1.98389; 32.31861 (MV Bukoba)
MV Kabalega 8 May 2005 A train ferry that collided with MV Kaawa near the Ssese Islands. 0°39′23″S 32°8′41″E / 0.65639°S 32.14472°E / -0.65639; 32.14472 (MV Kabalega)

Lake Albert[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
SS Robert Coryndon 1962 A British ferry named after Robert Coryndon, Governor of Uganda (1918-22).

Madagascar[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Adventure Galley A galley that was captained by William Kidd, who ordered it burnt at Île Sainte-Marie.
HMS Serapis July 1781 A Roebuck-class fifth-rate that caught fire and sank off Île Sainte-Marie. 17°00′09″S 49°50′31″E / 17.00250°S 49.84194°E / -17.00250; 49.84194 (HMS Serapis (1779))

North Africa[edit]

Algeria[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
SS City of Venice 4 July 1943 A troopship that was torpedoed by U-375. 36°44′N 1°31′E / 36.733°N 1.517°E / 36.733; 1.517 (SS City of Venice)
HMT Narkunda 14 November 1942 Narkunda British P&O requisitioned troopship bombed and sunk by German aircraft. Sister Ship Naldera. Off Bougie (Béjaïa), Algeria, passing Cape Carbon. 36°52′N 05°01′E / 36.867°N 5.017°E / 36.867; 5.017 (HMT Narkunda)
HMS Ibis 10 November 1942 A Black Swan-class sloop that was sunk by an Italian aircraft north of Algiers. 37°0′N 3°0′E / 37.000°N 3.000°E / 37.000; 3.000 (HMS Ibis (U99))
USS Leedstown 9 November 1942 A troopship that was sunk by U-331 off Algiers. 36°49′13″N 3°9′55″E / 36.82028°N 3.16528°E / 36.82028; 3.16528 (USS Leedstown (AP-73))
HMT Rhona 26 November 1943 A British troop carrier sunk north of Béjaïa in an air attack during World War II.[4][5] 37°1′12″N 5°12′6″E / 37.02000°N 5.20167°E / 37.02000; 5.20167 (HMT Rohna)
HMS Samphire 30 January 1943 A Flower-class corvette that was torpedoed by an Italian submarine off Béjaïa. 36°56′0″N 5°40′0″E / 36.93333°N 5.66667°E / 36.93333; 5.66667 (HMS Samphire (K128))

Egypt[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
HMS Attack 30 December 1917 An Acheron-class destroyer that was sunk northwest of Alexandria. 31°18′N 29°49′E / 31.300°N 29.817°E / 31.300; 29.817 (HMS Attack (1911))
HMS Defender 11 July 1941 A D-class destroyer that was attacked by a German bomber and sank under tow off Sidi Barrani. 31°45′N 25°31′E / 31.750°N 25.517°E / 31.750; 25.517 (HMS Defender (H07))
L'Orient 1 August 1798 An Océan-class ship of the line and Napoleon's flagship, destroyed by fire and explosion in Aboukir Bay during the Battle of the Nile.
HMS Salvia 24 December 1941 A Flower-class corvette that was torpedoed by U-568 about 100 nautical miles west of Alexandria. 31°28′N 28°00′E / 31.46°N 28.00°E / 31.46; 28.00 (HMS Salvia (K97))

Libya[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
HMS Dainty 24 February 1941 A D-class destroyer that was sunk by German bombers east of Tobruk. 32°4′24″N 24°4′42″E / 32.07333°N 24.07833°E / 32.07333; 24.07833 (HMS Dainty (H53))
HMS Ladybird 12 May 1941 An Insect-class gunboat that was sunk by German dive bombers at Tobruk. 32°4′33″N 23°58′21″E / 32.07583°N 23.97250°E / 32.07583; 23.97250 (HMS Ladybird (1916))
SS Shuntien 23 December 1941 A passenger and cargo liner that was torpedoed by U-559 east of Tobruk. 32°04′N 24°28′E / 32.06°N 24.46°E / 32.06; 24.46 (SS Shuntien (1934))
HMS Sikh 14 September 1942 A Tribal-class destroyer that was sunk by shore batteries off Tobruk. 32°5′52″N 24°0′0″E / 32.09778°N 24.00000°E / 32.09778; 24.00000 (HMS Sikh (F82))
HMS Terror 23 February 1941 An Erebus-class monitor that was attacked by German aircraft and sank under tow off Derna. 32°59′N 22°32′E / 32.983°N 22.533°E / 32.983; 22.533 (HMS Terror (I03))
U-652 2 June 1942 A Type VIIC U-boat that was attacked by a British aircraft and scuttled north of Bardia. 31°55′N 25°11′E / 31.917°N 25.183°E / 31.917; 25.183 (German submarine U-652)

Morocco/Western Sahara[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Commerce 1815 An American merchant ship that ran aground off Cape Bojador in what is now the Western Sahara. The surviving crew, led by Captain James Riley, were subsequently captured and taken as slaves by local tribes.[6]
SS Delhi 12 December 1911 A steamship that ran aground in heavy fog. The Duke of Fife was rescued from the sinking ship, but contracted pleurisy and died soon afterward.
SS Empire Barracuda 15 December 1942 A cargo ship that was torpedoed by U-77 off Morocco. 35°30′N 06°17′W / 35.500°N 6.283°W / 35.500; -6.283 (SS Empire Barracuda)
USS Hugh L. Scott 12 November 1942 A Hugh L. Scott-class troopship that was torpedoed by U-130 off Casablanca. 33°40′N 7°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583 (USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43))
HMS Lady Shirley 11 December 1941 A warship that was torpedoed by U-374 in the Straits of Gibraltar. 35°59′N 5°17′W / 35.983°N 5.283°W / 35.983; -5.283 (HMS Lady Shirley)
USS Tasker H. Bliss 13 November 1942 A Tasker H. Bliss-class troopship that was sunk by U-130 off Casablanca. 33°40′N 7°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583 (USS Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42))
SY Taube 20 January 2009 The sailing yacht Taube, sailing for the (since abandoned) cultural exploration project Migrobirdo, capsized in heavy swell on the approach to the port of Mehdya on the Sebou River. Six youths of different nationalities drowned, while one German female survived. An investigation concluded that several factors contributed to the accident, including an untrained skipper, an inexperienced crew, overloading, and the absence of a clear line of command.[7] 34°16′N 06°41′W / 34.267°N 6.683°W / 34.267; -6.683 (SY Taube)
U-173 16 November 1942 A Type IXC U-boat that was sunk by American destroyers off Casablanca. 33°40′N 07°35′W / 33.667°N 7.583°W / 33.667; -7.583 (German submarine U-173)
U-204 19 October 1941 A Type VIIC U-boat that was sunk by HMS Mallow and HMS Rochester near Tangier. 35°46′N 06°02′W / 35.767°N 6.033°W / 35.767; -6.033 (German submarine U-204)

Tunisia[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
HMS Havock 6 April 1942 A H-class destroyer that ran aground off Kelibia. 36°52′18″N 11°8′24″E / 36.87167°N 11.14000°E / 36.87167; 11.14000 (HMS Havock (H43))
HMS Hostile 23 August 1940 A H-class destroyer that struck a mine and was scuttled off Cap Bon. 36°53′00″N 11°19′00″E / 36.8833°N 11.3167°E / 36.8833; 11.3167 (HMS Hostile (H55))
Mahdia An ancient shipwreck discovered near Mahdia in 1907. It is thought to date from around 80 BC.[8] 35°31′55″N 8°47′15″E / 35.53194°N 8.78750°E / 35.53194; 8.78750 (Mahdia shipwreck)
HMS Manchester 13 August 1942 A Town-class light cruiser that was sunk during Operation Pedestal. 36°50′0″N 11°10′0″E / 36.83333°N 11.16667°E / 36.83333; 11.16667 (HMS Manchester (15))
USS PC-496 4 June 1943 A PC-461-class submarine chaser that sank off Bizerte. 37°23′0″N 9°52′0″E / 37.38333°N 9.86667°E / 37.38333; 9.86667 (USS PC-496)
USS Redwing 29 June 1943 A Lapwing-class minesweeper that capsized off Bizerte. 37°19′N 9°56′E / 37.317°N 9.933°E / 37.317; 9.933 (USS Redwing (AM-48))

Southern Africa[edit]

Namibia[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Bom Jesus A Portuguese nau that set sail from Lisbon in 1533. It was discovered in 2008 on the coast near Oranjemund.[9]
MV Dunedin Star 29 November 1942 A refrigerator ship that ran aground on the Skeleton Coast, 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of the Cunene River.[10] 18°08′S 11°33′E / 18.13°S 11.55°E / -18.13; 11.55 (MV Dunedin Star)
Eduard Bohlen 5 September 1909 A freighter that ran aground south of Conception Bay.[11][12] 23°59′43″S 14°27′26″E / 23.99528°S 14.45722°E / -23.99528; 14.45722 (Eduard Bohlen)
Natal Coast 1955 A Durban steamer that ran aground on a sandbank in dense fog, about 11 miles (18 km) north of Swakopmund. The crew were unharmed and were able to get off the ship once the area's coast guard arrived and allowed everyone off.
Otavi 1945 A steamer that ran aground in Spencer Bay.

South Africa[edit]

Eastern Cape[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Bredenhof 6 June 1753 A Dutch East Indiaman carrying copper duits, silver bars, and gold ducats, which hit a reef thirteen miles (19 km) from the eastern coast of Africa and 120 miles (190 km) south of the Portuguese settlement of Mozambique. The wreck was discovered in 1986.[13]
Cordigliera
 Panama
16 November 1996 After placing a distress call to Durban Radio at 10:30 pm requesting immediate assistance due to a leak in a hold, the freighter sank off South Africa off Port St Johns with the loss of all 23 lives.[14]
Doddington 17 July 1755 An East Indiaman that was wrecked at Bird Island in Algoa Bay.[15] 33°50.06′S 26°17.40′E / 33.83433°S 26.29000°E / -33.83433; 26.29000 (Doddington (ship))
Grosvenor 4 August 1782 An East Indiaman that was wrecked off the Pondoland coast.[16] 31°22′26″S 29°54′53″E / 31.37389°S 29.91472°E / -31.37389; 29.91472 (Wreck of the Grosvenor)
Kapodistrias 1985 A Greek bulk carrier wrecked at Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth 34°02′32″S 25°41′36″E / 34.042167°S 25.693317°E / -34.042167; 25.693317 (Kapodistrias)
Kiperousa 2005 A bulk carrier that was stranded northeast of Port Alfred.[17] 33°20′S 27°25′E / 33.333°S 27.417°E / -33.333; 27.417 (Kiperousa)
Meng Yaw A fishing trawler that sank near St Francis Bay. 34°10′S 24°30′E / 34.167°S 24.500°E / -34.167; 24.500 (Meng Yaw)
MTS Oceanos 4 August 1991 A cruise liner that sank off the Transkei coast, after leaving East London en route to Durban.[18] 32°07′15″S 29°07′13″E / 32.12093°S 29.12029°E / -32.12093; 29.12029 (MTS Oceanos)
Santissimo Sacramento 1647 A Portuguese vessel wrecked at Sardinia Bay near Port Elizabeth 34°02′35″S 25°31′13″E / 34.04300°S 25.52033°E / -34.04300; 25.52033 (Santissimo Sacramento)
SS Shalom 26 July 2001 A combined ocean liner/cruise ship that sank off Cape St. Francis while under tow to be scrapped.
TMP Sagittarius July 2002 Stranded southwest of East London.[19] 33°4′S 27°51′E / 33.067°S 27.850°E / -33.067; 27.850 (TMP Saggittarius)

KwaZulu-Natal[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
MT Phoenix September 2011 A tanker that ran aground near Ballito on 26 July 2011, and was then refloated and scuttled offshore.
Volo 6 March 1886 A barque that was stranded in the Bushman River.

Western Cape[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Arniston 30 May 1815 A British East Indiaman, requisitioned for troop transport, wrecked near Waenhuiskrans.[20] 34°39′36″S 20°15′7″E / 34.66000°S 20.25194°E / -34.66000; 20.25194 (Arniston (ship))
HMS Birkenhead 26 February 1852 A British iron-hulled troopship that struck a submerged rock near Gansbaai. The chivalry of the soldiers in abandoning ship gave rise to the "women and children first" protocol.[21] 34°38′42″S 19°17′9″E / 34.64500°S 19.28583°E / -34.64500; 19.28583 (HMS Birkenhead (1852))
BOS 400 26 June 1994 A Derrick/Lay Barge that ran aground on Duiker point after breaking loose while being towed around the Cape Peninsula by the tug Tigr in a storm.[22] 34°2′13.28″S 18°18′31.18″E / 34.0370222°S 18.3086611°E / -34.0370222; 18.3086611 (BOS 400 (ship))
British Peer 8 December 1896 A three-masted iron sailing ship that ran aground near the Cape of Good Hope.[23] 33°30.4′S 18°18.70′E / 33.5067°S 18.31167°E / -33.5067; 18.31167 (British Peer (ship))
Cospatrick 17 November 1874 A wooden 3-masted full-rigged sailing ship that caught fire and sank south of the Cape of Good Hope, with a loss of 369 lives.[24] 37°S 12°E / 37°S 12°E / -37; 12 (Cospatrick (ship))
HMS Guardian 24 December 1789 A 44-gun Roebuck-class ship laid down in 1780. Severely damaged by an iceberg, the ship was sailed 400 leagues to the Cape of Good Hope, where it was intentionally grounded.[25]
Ikan Tanda 2001 A cargo ship that ran aground near Cape Town, and was re-floated and scuttled 200 miles (320 km) from shore.[26]
Joanna 8 June 1682 An East Indiaman (the first to be wrecked off the South African coast) that sank near Cape Agulhas. A considerable amount of gold was on the ship.[27] 34°46′58″S 19°40′46″E / 34.78278°S 19.67944°E / -34.78278; 19.67944 (Joanna (ship))
Johanna Wagner 15 July 1862 A Prussian barque that ran ashore due to navigational error near Muizenberg.[28]
SS Maori 5 August 1909 A Shaw Savill Line steamship that was wrecked near Llandudno, Cape Town.[29]
Meisho Maru No. 38 1997 A fishing trawler that sank near Cape Aghulas. 34°49′S 19°59′E / 34.817°S 19.983°E / -34.817; 19.983 (Meisho Maru No. 38)
Nolloth A coastal trading vessel that sunk near Olifantsbos Bay. 34°16′S 18°23′E / 34.267°S 18.383°E / -34.267; 18.383 (Nolloth)
Pantalis A Lemos 1978 A bulk carrier that sank near Saldanha Bay. 33°9′S 18°1′E / 33.150°S 18.017°E / -33.150; 18.017 (Pantalis A Lemos)
HMS Pelorus 12 November 1994 A British Algerine-class minesweeper built in 1943. It was renamed SAS Pietermarizburg in 1947, and at the end of its career was scuttled to make an artificial reef at Miller's Point near Simon's Town.[30]
SAS President Kruger 18 February 1982 A South African frigate that sank in deep water after a collision with its refueling ship, SAS Tafelberg.[31] 35°15′S 17°21′E / 35.250°S 17.350°E / -35.250; 17.350 (SAS President Kruger (F150))
HMS Sceptre 5 November 1799 A 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy that was blown ashore in Table Bay by a gale, with heavy losses. [32] 33°55′12″S 18°27′0″E / 33.92000°S 18.45000°E / -33.92000; 18.45000 (HMS Sceptre (1781))
MV Seli 1 18 September 2009 A Turkish bulk carrier carrying coal that ran aground on Bloubergstrand near Table Bay. 33°49′15.75″S 18°28′24.58″E / 33.8210417°S 18.4734944°E / -33.8210417; 18.4734944 (Seli 1)
A.H. Stevens 7 February 1962 Stranded in Shell Bay on Robben Island.
HMS Thames 13 May 1947 A former Mersey-class protected cruiser that became famous as the SATS General Botha, a merchant naval training ship. After retiring as a training ship, it reverted to its original name and was sunk in False Bay near Simon's Town as a target.[33] 34°13′48″S 18°37′48″E / 34.23000°S 18.63000°E / -34.23000; 18.63000 (HMS Thames (1885))
SS Thomas T. Tucker 27 November 1942 A Houston built munitions carrier that ran ashore on Oliphantsbos Point, near Cape Point.[34] 34°16′23.66″S 18°22′48.33″E / 34.2732389°S 18.3800917°E / -34.2732389; 18.3800917 (SS Thomas T. Tucker)
SS Wafra 28 February 1971 An oil tanker that grounded near Cape Agulhas, causing an oil spill. The ship was later refloated, towed out to sea, and re-sunk to avoid further contamination of the coastline. 36°57′S 20°42′E / 36.950°S 20.700°E / -36.950; 20.700 (SS Wafra)
Waterloo 28 August 1842 A British convict ship that was driven ashore in Table Bay by a storm, together with the Abercrombie Robinson, a troop transport.

West Africa[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Hartwell 22 May 1787 An East Indiaman that ran aground off Cape Verde following a mutiny.
MV George 1 April 1999 A Nigerian and Port Harcourt to Nembe route ferry that capsized in rough sea off Port Harcourt. At least 100 people were killed.[35]
MV Joola 26 September 2002 A Senegalese passenger ship that capsized off the coast of the Gambia.[36]
Medusa 2 July 1816 A French passenger ship that sank near Bank of Arguin. The traumatic experience of the stranded passengers and crew was immortalized in Géricault's painting, The Raft of the Medusa.
HNoMS Nordkapp 27 November 1972 A Norwegian patrol boat that served in WWII before being sold off to civilian ownership as a fishing vessel.
Primauguet 8 November 1942 A French Duguay-Trouin-class light cruiser, laid down in 1923, that was sunk by gunfire from the USS Massachusetts.
William D. Lawrence A full-rigged ship that sank off Dakar.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Patience, Kevin (2006). Shipwrecks and Salvage on the East African coast. Kevin Patience. 
  2. ^ Thoya, Francis (19 November 2003). "The restless ghosts of Mtongwe". Wednesday Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. 
  3. ^ a b Patience, Kevin (1997). Königsberg: a German East African raider. Kevin Patience. 
  4. ^ Jackson, Carlton (1997). Forgotten Tragedy: The Sinking of HMT Rohna. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-402-9. 
  5. ^ Wise, James E.; Baron, Scott (2004). Soldiers Lost at Sea: A Chronicle of Troopship Disasters. Naval Institute Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-59114-966-8. 
  6. ^ Riley, James; Evans, Gordon H. (2007). Sufferings in Africa: The Astonishing Account of a New England Sea Captain Enslaved by North African Arabs. Lyons Press. ISBN 978-1-59921-211-1. 
  7. ^ "Capsize of the SY TAUBE with six fatalities off the Atlantic coast of Morocco on 20 January 2009". German Federal Bureau for Maritime Casualty Investigation. 15 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Merlin, Alfred (1908). Bulletin de la société nationale des antiquaires de France. pp. 128–131. Cited in: Bates, William N. (January – March 1909). "Archaeological News". American Journal of Archaeology 13 (1): 102f.
  9. ^ Smith, Roff (October 2009). "Diamond Shipwreck". National Geographic. 
  10. ^ Schoeman, Amy (2003). Skeleton Coast. Struik. p. 98. ISBN 1-86872-891-9. 
  11. ^ "Skeleton Coast, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay". Brian McMorrow (PBase). Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
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  13. ^ "Bredenhof (+1753)". Wrecksite.eu. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  14. ^ The East Cape News Agency, Cordigliera sinks off port st johns, retrieved 16 November 1996 
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  16. ^ Dalrymple, Alexander (1783). An Account of the Loss of the Grosvenor Indiaman. 
  17. ^ Cambray, Garth (September 2005). "Salvage science - making our world a safer, cleaner place". Science in Africa. 
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  28. ^ "The Johanna Wagner 1862". Shipwreck.co.za. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
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External links[edit]