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Name: Eldia
Owner: Thenamaris
Completed: 1966[1]
Out of service: Grounded, March 29, 1984
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class and type: Freighter
Length: 473 ft (144 m)
Propulsion: Oil / Screw
Crew: 23

Eldia was a steel freighter[2] which was blown ashore in East Orleans, Massachusetts on March 29, 1984.[3][4] The ship, which was owned by the Greek company Thenamaris Inc. and registered in Malta, was refloated two months later by the salvage company Donjon Marine who received title to the ship as payment. A year later the ship was scrapped.

Circumstances of wreck[edit]

After delivery of its load of Colombian sugar in Saint John, New Brunswick Eldia was hit by a storm delivering 80-mile-per-hour (129 km/h; 70 kn) winds. This storm was part of a period of extreme weather which caused President Ronald Reagan to pledge federal disaster relief.[5] Running for the open sea without cargo or ballast, and therefore riding high on the waves, Eldia was unable to match the strength of the storms. Her captain, Ernesto Garces, was also hampered by her lack of contemporary electronic technology for monitoring the weather, which had enabled other ships in the area to anticipate the problems that would come with the storm and take appropriate action; all he could do was monitor radio broadcasts. He attempted to bring the ship under control but was forced onto Nauset Beach at around 4pm. Two hours later the ship was abandoned by its crew of 23 Filipinos, who were rescued by a helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod.[6][7]

Due to the ease of access to the area New England residents crowded to see the sight when the weather improved. One estimation is that approximately 150,000 did so. The town collected US$81,693 by charging $2 a day for visitors' car parking, and many businesses conducted a lot of additional trade during this curious period.[8]

The wreck was drawn back off the beach on May 17, 1984, taken to a scrap-yard in Rhode Island and then on to another at Staten Island.[8] The ship was reportedly cut up in either 1985 or 1989.[4][8]

Archive material[edit]

The Orleans public library maintains a collection of memorabilia related to Eldia including photos, accounts and official records. A local coffeehouse and market in East Orleans was named after the famous ship but was closed in 2006. The original owners of the shop donated their collection of Eldia images, original paintings, newspaper articles and personal accounts to the Orleans Historic Society.

Former names[edit]

  • Wakabasan Maru - 1966 to June 4, 1975
  • Ellinora - 1975 to January 24, 1981
  • John - 1981 to November 21, 1982


  1. ^ a b c "Eldia". MarineTraffic.com. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Eldia". Wreckhunter.net. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Effort to free huge freighter begins". The Day. Associated Press. May 14, 1984. p. 35. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "March 29 - Today in Cape Cod History". Cape Cod Today. March 29, 2013. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ Church, George G.; Yang, John E.; Hornik, Richard (April 9, 1984). "Like the Hand of God". Time. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ Leaning, John (August 22, 1999). "Cape Cod's Reputation as a Graveyard of the Atlantic Ocean". Cape Cod Times. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Grounded Ship is a Boon to Cape Cod Town". New York Times. April 5, 1984. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Milton, Susan. "The enduring tale of the Eldia". Cape Cod Online. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°46′58″N 69°56′04″W / 41.78274°N 69.93433°W / 41.78274; -69.93433