11 Most Tragically Majestic Shipwrecks In The World

The oceans are wondrous things that capture our attentions and imaginations. They hold wonders and mysteries that can blow your mind. But beyond the terrifying creatures that creep around the ocean floor, evidence of human existence rears up every once in a while, grabbing the interest of scientists and treasure hunters alike.

Shipwrecks are not only proof of the craftsmanship of the human race, but they also show how mother nature consumes what is put in her oceans. These shipwrecks provide scientists with an insight into both history and nature; ocean life with a place to inhabit; and those with daring curiosity to loot the wreckage. From military warships to vessels that date back to 2200 B.C.. Despite being amazing, these wrecks have become incredibly eerie over the years of sitting in the ocean, accumulating various sea life.

11 Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

Known for hosting the Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon, this body of water contains more than 50 major shipwrecks of WWII. A popular diving spot for daring scuba divers, these shark-infested waters have become one of the best diving destinations in the world. Known as Operation Hailstone, in 1944 the American army wiped out the Japanese naval and air base located in Truk Lagoon, sinking around 60 ships and 275 planes. Lasting 3 days, the attack left behind a fighter aircraft, tanks, motorcycles, cars, torpedoes, various other weapons, and human remains. The wreckage was untouched for almost 25 years for fear of sunken bombs. Many divers swear that many of the wrecks are haunted as some 3,000 people are said to have died.

10 Sweepstakes, Tobermory, Ontario, Canada

Considered as one of the best preserved nineteenth century schooners to have been discovered, the wreckage is clearly visible in the clear waters of Lake Huron. Incredibly picturesque, the wreck has become a favourite diving location, as the waters are clear, and the ship sits at a maximum of 20ft below the water’s surface. Recorded to have been built in 1867, the schooner was specifically used for transporting coal, and did so for 18 years until she sank in Big Tub Harbor due to some damage. Unfortunately, due to the oxidation caused by diver’s bubbles, Sweepstakes can no longer be entered, and now has a fence built around it for protection.

9 Defiance, Lake Huron, North America

Lake Huron has had many vessels sink beneath her depths, with many of them incredibly well preserved, thanks to the cold, fresh waters. The Defiance was a southbound vessel that was carrying a load of grain. Due to some fog, the ship struck the mid-section of John J Audubon, another ship. Tearing a large hole into Audubon, both ships sunk. The Defiance has sat at the bottom of Lake Huron since 1854 and remains are completely intact.

8 Roatán, Islas de la Bahia, Honduras

Roatán is the burial ground for many ships that were sunk for scuba diving purposes. However, it also hosts the final resting place of a ship known as the Dixon Cove Wreck. A cargo ship carrying building materials (said to be either paint, lumber, or marble) ran aground. Local residents rescued the cargo in an attempt to save the ship, but the ship was already lost. It has been decaying since 1971, and is now a picturesque, rusted beauty.

7 Yongala, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Along with being famous for the wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef hosts a famous diving site. The S.S. Yongala sank to bottom of the ocean in 1911. Lying undiscovered for over 50 years, marine life completely took over, making the wreck the home of a large variety of life. Taking the lives of everyone onboard (122 people), the exact cause of the ship’s death is unknown, though it has been theorized that it was hit by an unexpected cyclone.

6 Cabo de Santa Maria, Boa Vista, Cape Verde

A Spanish cargo ship travelling form Brazil, had her journey end abruptly a few miles from the island capital Sal Rei on Boa Vista, Cape Verde. Between rough winds, pounding waves, and intense sunlight beating against the wreckage, the ship is on the verge of complete collapse. The cargo brought the locals hope as they looted the ship, and the crew was completely unharmed and fled to the island.

5 Eduard Bohlen Shipwreck, Namibia, Africa

A ship that ran aground off the coast of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast in 1909, the remains of the Eduard Bohlen are nothing more that a skeleton resting in sand dunes. The cargo ship was on a voyage from Swakopmund, Namibia to Table Bay when it hit thick fog, and went off course, ending up at Conception Bay, where it remains today.

4 Russian Wreck, Zadagad Island, Red Sea

Simply known as the Russian Wreck, the ship appears to have been used as an information gatherer. Exact details of the ship are unknown, including the name, and its purpose for being in Egypt. The only reason that it was called The ‘Russian’ Wreck is because of the writing that was found on dials and equipment. Discovered in 1988, it is believed to have been an intelligence vessel during the Cold War.

3 Fraser Island’s Maheno Shipwreck, Australia

Built in Scotland in 1904, the Maheno was the first triple screw steamer, weighing 5323 tonnes. The steamer was used as a hospital ship during WWI, after which a Sydney shipping company purchased the vessel, and it travelled back and forth from Sydney to New Zealand for several years. It was then sold off to a Japanese shipping company who decided to sell the large brass propellers and have the ship melted down and sold as scrap metal. On the voyage to Osaka, Japan, The Maheno was hit by a freak cyclone off the coast of Fraser Island. The skeleton crew that was on the steamer refused to get off the wreck due to stories of the local Aborigines having cannibalistic tendencies.  After many failed attempts to get the ship to float once again, it was eventually abandoned and now decorates 75 Mile Beach, Australia.

2 S.S. Thistlegorm, Red Sea

 The Red Sea is host to many shipwrecks, one being the S.S. Thistlegorm. The cargo ship was sunk in 1941 in the Gulf of Suez. She was carrying supplies to the British army based in Alexandria. The cargo included radio equipment, motorcycles, Bren-Gun carriers, jeeps, trucks, stacks of rifles, and airplane parts, among other things. Used in WWII, she made trips to America, Argentina, and Dutch Antilles before she was hit by two bombs and sunk.  Thistlegorm was rediscovered in 1952 and is now a famous diving site.

1 The Ghost Ship, The Baltic Sea

The incredibly haunting ship was accidently discovered in 2003 by a crew looking for a Swedish plane that was shot down during the Cold War. An archaeological exhibition was started in 2010, and researchers discovered that the incredibly old Dutch ship was known as a fluyt (sailing cargo ship), and that it was built around 1650. The ship is incredibly intact despite its age, as the Baltic Sea has practically no tidal movement and the salinity level is incredibly small. These conditions allow this sea to house some of the oldest vessels in the world.

More in Travel