List of shipwrecks of South America

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This is a list of shipwrecks located in or around South America.


Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Crown of Italy 23 December 1891 A British sailing ship that ran aground at Cabo San Diego.[1] Abandoned early the next morning and using the ship's boats, her crew of 33 made landfall on Staten Island on Christmas Day. The crew were stranded there for 83 days before being picked up by H.M.S. Cleopatra. All were saved. 54°38′S 65°07′W / 54.633°S 65.117°W / -54.633; -65.117 (Crown of Italy)
Desdemona 9 September 1985 A cargo ship that ran aground at Cabo San Pablo.[2] 54°17′51.34″S 66°41′58.82″W / 54.2975944°S 66.6996722°W / -54.2975944; -66.6996722 (Desdemona)
Duchess of Albany 13 July 1893 A sailing ship that sank off Tierra del Fuego.[3] 54°38′S 65°31′W / 54.633°S 65.517°W / -54.633; -65.517 (Duchess of Albany)
ARA General Belgrano 2 April 1982 A Brooklyn-class light cruiser that was torpedoed by HMS Conqueror during the Falklands/Malvinas War. The ship was outside the Total Exclusion Zone at the time, leading to controversy over whether the attack was justified. 55°24′S 61°32′W / 55.400°S 61.533°W / -55.400; -61.533 (ARA General Belgrano)
HMS Justice 1957 A salvage tug that was beached an abandoned at Ushuaia. 54°48′35″S 68°18′29″W / 54.809694°S 68.308117°W / -54.809694; -68.308117 (HMS Justice (W140))
USS Perkins 15 January 1973 A Gearing-class destroyer that was sunk as a target in Samborombón Bay. 36°15′00″S 57°00′00″W / 36.250°S 57.000°W / -36.250; -57.000 (USS Perkins (DD-877))
Potosi 19 October 1925 A barque that caught fire and was scuttled near Comodoro Rivadavia. 45°2.5′S 66°2.5′W / 45.0417°S 66.0417°W / -45.0417; -66.0417 (Potosi (ship))
Sarmiento 2 April 1912 A passenger and cargo ship that sank in the Beagle Channel.[4] 54°51′40.49″S 67°51′22.39″W / 54.8612472°S 67.8562194°W / -54.8612472; -67.8562194 (Sarmiento)
Usurbil March 1993 A fishing trawler that was destroyed by fire while at port at Ingeniero White, Buenos Aires. The wreck was moved to Bahía Blanca in 1999.[5] 38°49′36″S 62°15′55″W / 38.82667°S 62.26528°W / -38.82667; -62.26528 (Usurbil)


Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Aquidabã 21 January 1906 A Brazilian ironclad warship that sank after exploding near the Jacuacanga strait, in Angra dos Reis bay.
Bezerra de Menezes 1891 Cargo ship that sunk after a collision.
California 1866 Rare 1806 "direct acting engine" steamer, with a centered propulsion wheel, carrying personal care articles. Sunk after a pirate raid at Ilha Grande, Angra dos reis.
Campos 23 October 1943 Torpedoed by a U-170.
Trafalgar 14 September 1914 Sank by British HMS Carmania off the coast of the Island of Trindade, Brazil, South Atlantic Ocean -WWI]. 20°29′S 29°18′W / 20.483°S 29.300°W / -20.483; -29.300 (SMS Cap Trafalgar (1914)}
Elihu B. Washburne 1943 Sunk in Santos Bay.
Kapunda 20 January 1887 An emigrant ship that was travelling from London to Australia when it collided with the barque Ada Melmore, with 299 lives lost.
RMS Magdalena 26 April 1949 A refrigerator ship that ran aground and then split in two in the Guanabara Bay while under tow. 22°57′05″S 43°7′30″W / 22.95139°S 43.12500°W / -22.95139; -43.12500 (RMS Magdalena (1948))
Novo Amapa 6 January 1981 Capsized in the Amazon River, at Cajari, Macapá.[6]
Pinguino 1967 A grain cargo ship that sunk after a fire aboard. A popular dive site at Ilha Grande.
Príncipe de Asturias 5 March 1916 An ocean liner that ran aground on a shoal near Ilhabela, São Paulo, resulting in at least 445 deaths.
Sir Foxwell Buxton (ship) 1853 An emigrant ship that ran aground off the coast of Rio Grande do Norte.
Sobral Santos II 19 September 1981 Capsized in the Amazon River, at Óbidos, Pará. Around 250 to 300 people are killed, 178 people survive.[7]
Stag Hound 2 August 1861 An extreme clipper that caught fire and sank near Pernambuco.
Tocantins 1933 Sunk at the Queimada Grande Island, due to heavy fog.
U-128 16 May 1943 Attacked by US Navy aircraft and destroyers off the coast of Recife. After considerable shelling and aerial bombing that rendered her dead in the water, the crew scuttled her the next day. 11°0′S 35°43′W / 11.000°S 35.717°W / -11.000; -35.717 (U-128)


Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Almirante Latorre 2005 Sank in the South Pacific while under tow to be broken up.
Ambassador 1940s A clipper that was beached at San Gregorio. 52°34′03″S 70°04′07″W / 52.567529°S 70.068537°W / -52.567529; -70.068537 (Ambassador (clipper))
Angamos 1928 Sank after striking rocks near Lebu. Second biggest single-incident maritime losses of life in the history of Chile.
Blanco Encalada 1891 Destroyed by a torpedo gunboat in the port of Caldera during the 1891 Chilean Civil War.
Casma 1916 Ran aground in Picton Channel.
Cazador 1856 A steamboat that was driven aground off Point Carranza, 10 km south of Constitución, resulting in the loss of 300-400 lives. The biggest single-incident maritime losses of life in the history of Chile.
HMS Challenger 1835 Wrecked off Mocha Island.
County of Peebles 1960s A windjammer that was beached as a breakwater at Punta Arenas.
HMS Doterel 1881 A Doterel-class sloop that exploded while anchored at Punta Arenas.[8]
SMS Dresden 1915 A Dresden-class light cruiser that was scuttled near Robinson Crusoe Island. 33°36′6″S 78°49′30″W / 33.60167°S 78.82500°W / -33.60167; -78.82500 (SMS Dresden (1907))
El Canelo 1960 Sank in the mouth of Valdivia River after the 1960 Valdivia earthquake in 1960.
Esmeralda 1879 Sank during the Battle of Iquique.
ARA Fournier 1949 Sank in Gabriel Channel at the Dawson Island. Lost of 72 men[2]
HMS Good Hope 1914 A Drake-class armored cruiser that was destroyed in the Battle of Coronel. 36°59′1″S 73°48′49″W / 36.98361°S 73.81361°W / -36.98361; -73.81361 (HMS Good Hope (1901))
ARA Guaraní 1958 Sank off Nueva Island. Lost of 38 men.[3]
Independencia 1879 Ran aground and was burnt during the Battle of Punta Gruesa.
Janequeo ATF-65 1965 Sank with the loss of 65 men.[9]
John Elder 1892 Sank near Punta Carranza.[10]
Kate Kellok [11] 1878
MV Logos 1988 A missionary ship owned by Operation Mobilisation, that ran aground on rocks in the Beagle Channel. 54°58′12.84″S 67°7′25.71″W / 54.9702333°S 67.1238083°W / -54.9702333; -67.1238083 (MV Logos)
BAP Manco Cápac 1880 Scuttled to prevent her capture by the Chilean military after the Battle of Arica.
HMS Monmouth 1914 A Monmouth-class armored cruiser that was destroyed in the Battle of Coronel. 36°53′53″S 73°50′45″W / 36.89806°S 73.84583°W / -36.89806; -73.84583 (HMS Monmouth (1901))
Monteagudo 1839 Sank off Valparaíso.
O'Higgins 1826 Sank off Cape Horn. Probably the biggest single-incident maritime loss of life in the history of Chile.
Olympian 1906 A steamboat that was wrecked at Possession Bay while under tow. 52°14′51.67″S 69°1′55.46″W / 52.2476861°S 69.0320722°W / -52.2476861; -69.0320722 (Olympian (sidewheeler))
Oriflamme 1770 Sank near the mouth of the Huenchullami River.
Sancti Espiritus 1526 First European ship to run aground in the Strait of Magellan.
SS Santa Leonor 1966 Ran aground in Smyth Channel.
HMS Wager 1741 Ran aground at Wager Island. 47°40′43″S 75°02′57″W / 47.67861°S 75.04917°W / -47.67861; -75.04917


Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Jesus Maria de la Limpia Concepcion 1654 Spanish treasure ship also known as the Capitana, lost after striking a reef off Chanduy.
Santa Maria de la Consolacion 1681 Spanish treasure ship laden with gold, silver, and precious gems run against a reef by pursuing pirates. Discovered in 1998.

Falkland Islands[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
HMS Antelope 24 May 1982 A Type 21 frigate that was sunk by Argentine bombers during the Falklands War. 51°33′3″S 59°3′30″W / 51.55083°S 59.05833°W / -51.55083; -59.05833 (HMS Antelope (F170))
HMS Ardent (F184) 22 May 1982 A Type 21 frigate that was sunk by Argentine bombers during the Falklands War. 51°39′38″S 59°8′12″W / 51.66056°S 59.13667°W / -51.66056; -59.13667 (HMS Ardent (F184))
HMS Coventry 25 May 1982 A Type 42 destroyer that was sunk by Argentine aircraft during the Falklands War. 51°3′36″S 59°42′12″W / 51.06000°S 59.70333°W / -51.06000; -59.70333 (HMS Coventry (D118))
SS Imo 30 November 1921 A whaling supply ship known for her involvement in the Halifax Explosion, after which she was repaired and ran aground three years later off East Falkland.
ARA Isla de los Estados 11 May 1982 A naval supply ship that was sunk by HMS Alacrity during the Falklands War. 51°42′3″S 59°29′22″W / 51.70083°S 59.48944°W / -51.70083; -59.48944 (ARA Isla de los Estados)

Galápagos Islands[edit]

Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Ann Alexander 20 August 1851 An American whaleship that sank after it was rammed by a sperm whale.
MV Jessica 16 January 2001 An oil tanker that ran aground off Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, causing an oil spill.


Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Adresito March 1990 Capsized in Amazon River, Iquitos, Loreto Maynas, at least 134 people confirmed dead.
La Chachita May 1991 Capsized by stormy conditions in Marranon River, at least 150 people confirmed dead.
Covadonga 13 September 1880 A Chilean schooner that was sunk by a mine outside Chancay.
Santa Elena March 2008 Capsized in Tepiche River, Loreto, at least fifty people confirmed dead.


Ship Sunk date Notes Coordinates
Admiral Graf Spee 17 December 1939 A German battleship scuttled during the Battle of the River Plate. 34°58′S 56°17′W / 34.967°S 56.283°W / -34.967; -56.283 (German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee)
HMS Agamemnon 20 June 1809 A Royal Navy warship ran aground and sank north of Gorriti Island in Maldonado Bay. 34°55′59″S 54°58′52″W / 34.93306°S 54.98111°W / -34.93306; -54.98111 (HMS Agamemnon)


  1. ^ SV Crown of Italy (+1891),
  2. ^ MV Desdemona (+1985),
  3. ^ SV Duchess of Albany (+1893),
  4. ^ SS Sarmiento (+1912),
  5. ^ FV Usurbil (+1993),
  6. ^ "Overloaded Boat Sinks in Amazon". The Palm Beach Post. 9 January 1981. p. A18. 
  7. ^ "Naufrágio do Barco Sobral Santos completa 30 anos" (in Portuguese). 17 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Campbell, Duncan. "HMS Doterel, lost 26 April 1881 Memorial Plaque". British Presence in Southern Patagonia. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ New York Times report
  11. ^ Wreck report

Further reading[edit]

  • Marx, Robert F. (1987). Shipwrecks in the Americas. New York: Dover. pp. 426–444. ISBN 0-486-25514-X. 

External links[edit]