Sanko Harvest

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Sanko Harvest
Owner: Seawall Shipping Corporation
Operator: The Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd,
Port of registry:  Panama
Builder: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd
Launched: 1985
Identification: Official Number 8307521
Fate: Struck a reef and sank 14 February 1991
General characteristics
Tonnage: 30,000 DWT
Length: 167.6 m (550 ft)
Beam: 27 m (89 ft)
Draft: 14.8 m (49 ft)

Sanko Harvest was a 30,000 DWT bulk carrier that sank near Esperance, Western Australia after striking a reef there on 14 February 1991.[1] The Japanese owned ship was 174 metres (571 ft) long and was carrying a cargo of 30,000 tonnes of fertilizer. Also on board was 570 tonnes of bunker fuel and 74 tonnes of diesel fuel.[2]

The wreck site is the second largest wreck dive in the world and the largest off the Australian coast.


Sanko Harvest was traveling from Tampa, Florida via the Panama Canal to Esperance when it hit the reef at 34°7.4′S 122°5.1′E / 34.1233°S 122.0850°E / -34.1233; 122.0850Coordinates: 34°7.4′S 122°5.1′E / 34.1233°S 122.0850°E / -34.1233; 122.0850, near Hood Island within the Recherche Archipelago, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) south south east of Esperance.[3]

Initially, salvage plans were put in place, however the ship started to break up and broke into three pieces and sank on the night of 17 and 18 February. During the break up, all of the cargo and fuel were released into the sea and most of the oil washed onto the beaches of nearby Cape Le Grand National Park. Two-hundred drums of chemical dispersant was used in the cleanup operation.

The subsequent investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found the fault to be human error by the master of the ship.


  1. ^ "Sanko Harvest, Esperance, Western Australia, 14 February 1991". Major Oil Spills in Australia. Australian Maritime Safety Agency. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Sanko Harvest wreck". Western Australian Museum Shipwreck database. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Grounding of bulk carrier Sanko Harvest". Marine safety investigations & reports. Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Retrieved 27 June 2012.