Humanity has been eerily obsessed with disastrous happenings since the beginning of time. There's something so darkly intriguing about events that ended in chaos, and shipwrecks are perhaps one of the v
ost fascinating of them all. Ever since the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, society has sank their teeth into tales of oceanic turmoil. The vast unknown that lives beneath the ocean's surface is perhaps the creepiest detail of all shipwrecks. Where exactly do the ships' remains — and for that matter, the human remains — make their final resting place?
With technology advancing at rapid rates, we are now able to answer some of these mystifying questions. Waterproof and deep range cameras give us visibility to the deepest and most hidden wrecks. With an estimated 3 million shipwrecks lying on various parts of the oceans' floors, there is definitely enough material to document! Some of the wrecks are thousands of years old, and many more have not yet been found. The remnants of old ships have fascinated scholars and historians for ages, and for good reason. Not only can these wrecks give us an educational run for our money, we can learn a lot about boat safety and the dangers at sea for future ocean expeditors.
We've compiled some of the eeriest and creepiest photographs ever captured of various shipwrecks, old and new. We can't guarantee that you'll feel like taking a boat ride anytime soon. Here are 15 Of The Creepiest Shipwreck Photos.
15 The Defiance, 1854
The Defiance shipwreck is notable for its impeccably preserved state. In October 1854, the schooner, which was travelling southbound on Lake Huron toward Buffalo, New York, struck another vessel, the John J. Audubon. Misty conditions and high speeds were to blame for the collision, and both boats sank within fifteen minutes of each other. Although the boats sank at a remarkably fast rate, lifeboats were thrown overboard and all crew members survived. The 163-year-old remains are just some of the several hundred wrecks at the bottom of Lake Huron. The freshwater and cold temperatures have played key roles in the preservation of the ship, making this an historic and popular relic.
14 Sweepstakes, 1885
The Sweepstakes is one of the most visible shipwrecks in Canada, with a resting depth of only 20 feet below the surface of Lake Huron, in Big Tub Harbour, Ontario. The 119-foot-long schooner was built in 1867 and used to transport coal for 18 years, until damage caused her to sink. Over the years, the wreck has been a favorite destination for tourists and divers, although a fence has recently been erected to protect the wreck from damage. Previously, divers were able to enter the shipwreck with scuba gear, but their oxygen tanks were causing significant damage to the ship, so the wreck site is now protected.
13 SS President Coolidge,1942
SS President Coolidge was an American-built luxury ocean liner that was completed in 1931. The 615 foot long ship had a capacity of close to 1000 passengers and offered vacation cruising from San Francisco to Manila. During WWII, the ship took part in evacuating American citizens from Asian countries while tensions with Japan were on the rise. On October 26, 1942, the ship was attempting to enter the harbour of Espiritu Santo, off the island of Vanuatu. Unfortunately, the harbour had been heavily armed with mines and the ship was struck. The sinking was slow enough that the captain had time to evacuate all of his crew. Only two casualties were reported — one was struck by the mine and the other drowned.
12 SS Edmund Fitzgerald, 1975
The sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was one of the biggest tragedies — all 29 crew members perished when the ship went down. The Great Lakes freighter was on a voyage from Superior, Wisconsin to Detroit, Michigan, via Lake Superior. A severe storm hit on the night of November 10, 1975, with waves reaching an incredible 35-feet high. The vessel was only 17 miles away from Sault Ste. Marie when she went down, unable to defend against the hurricane-strength winds and crashing waves. The boat sank to a depth of 530 feet with all members of the crew aboard. Although the ship was located days after its sinking, no bodies were ever found.
11 USS Monitor, 1862
The USS Monitor was an American steamship built during the Civil War and completed in 1862. She was famed for her role in the Battle of Hampton Roads in March, 1862, where she went head to head with CSS Virginia. This naval battle would go down in history as one of the most significant of the Civil War. Despite the Monitor's good reputation, she would have an untimely end, sinking the same year that she was launched. En route to a military expedition in Beaufort, North Carolina, the USS Monitor hit a bad storm and began to flood. While 47 men were rescued from the stormy waters, 16 crew members perished. The partially salvaged wreck was found in 1973.
10 RMS Titanic, 1912
The RMS Titanic is without a doubt the most famous shipwreck tale of our time. The 882-foot-long cruiser was built for luxury; it had enough room to accommodate almost 3,500 passengers and crew members, and was famously coined the "unsinkable ship." Tragically, days after leaving Southampton, England for her maiden voyage, she hit an iceberg and sank within three hours. Due to panic, and the ship being ill-prepared for such unforeseen tragedy, roughly only 710 people were saved. An estimated 1,500 people perished in the cold Atlantic waters, just off the coast of Newfoundland. The wreckage was only discovered some 70 years after it sank, at a depth of 12,415 feet below the ocean's surface. The ship is split in two and expected to deteriorate further over the next 50 years.
9 HMHS Britannic, 1916
The HMHS Britannic was a transatlantic passenger liner and sister vessel to the RMS Titanic. Although she was built to last and meant to be stronger and more resilient than the Titanic, she would ultimately suffer a similar fate. After completing 5 voyages from the UK to the Middle East, the ship would run into trouble near the island of Kea, in the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. A mine exploded, causing the vessel significant damage, but luckily, there was enough time to get the 1,045 people aboard safely onto lifeboats. Some reports claim that 30 people perished, but this has not been confirmed. It took only 55 minutes for the ship to sink entirely. The Britannic is the largest passenger on the sea floor and was discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1975.
8 MV Wilhelm Gustloff, 1945
The MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German military ship which had one of the most disastrous and tragic endings in modern history. Although the ship was built with the intent of providing leisure and entertainment cruising for Germans, it ended up being used mainly to transport German refugees and military from Russia. On its fateful last voyage, the ship was loaded with 10,582 passengers, almost five times the official capacity. More than half were children. Soviet submarine S-13 spotted the ship on January 30, 1045, and 3 torpedoes were launched. Defenseless in the sub-zero temperature and the icy Baltic Sea, roughly 9,000 people perished.
7 SS Republic, 1865
The SS Republic fits the stereotypical shipwreck mold. The Civil War period ship went down in 1865, off the coast of Georgia, with plenty of treasure onboard. Silver and gold coins, en route to the South, sank with the ship, causing massive economic losses to an already suffering America. In 2003, the ship's wreckage was located and over 50,000 gold and silver coins were recovered. Those coins are currently the subject of a lawsuit in the state of Georgia since different sources are claiming ownership. The value in 1865 was over $400,000, so today, they would be worth significantly more. No one died in the sinking, but the passengers did spend 2 days at sea in lifeboats before being discovered and brought to safety.
6 Bismarck, 1941
German battleship the Bismarck is one of the most famed Nazi relics. Involved in many battles, the Bismarck was ultimately sunk after getting hit by torpedoes fired by British pilots. Days prior, the Bismarck had sunk British ship HMS Hood, and the attack was carried out in retaliation. The British conveniently cornered the ship with two of their own vessels and then attacked from all fronts. The Germans stood defenseless and the ship sunk into the Atlantic off the coast of France, with close to 2,000 of her 2,200 crew members. For years, the wreckage was unfound, until 1989 when Dr. Robert Ballard made the discovery using side-scan sonar tools.
5 MV Salem Express, 1991
The Salem Express was a passenger ferry that traversed from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. On December 15, 1991, the northbound journey on the Red Sea ended in tragedy. While reports on how many people were on board vary, the estimate falls between 700 and 1,600 passengers. Approaching Egypt, the ship was caught in a storm which caused the ferry to slam into the Hyndman Reef. A huge hole was pierced into the hull and many of the inner compartments were sealed off and flooded. Within less than 30 minutes, the ship was completely underwater and immersed 89 feet into the sea. Unfortunately, 470 people lost their lives, mostly due to the stormy conditions and poor visibility for rescue workers. Although some divers enjoy visiting this ruin, many people find it hugely disrespectful due to the massive loss of life that occurred.
4 SS Maheno, 1935
The SS Maheno was a notable ocean liner that was used for crossings between Australia and New Zealand. During WWI, the ship was used as a medical vessel and was stationed off the coast of Greece to aid injured soldiers. After many years of service, the ship was ultimately sold to the Japanese. On July 3, 1935, she was being towed by the Oonah to be delivered to Osaka, but, would not make the journey safely. The towline snapped during a severe cyclone and the ship drifted off to sea with 8 crew members on board. A week later, the ship was discovered and once again towed, this time to shore. The crew had set up camp nearby and were unharmed. The ship, however, ended up beached and attempts to refloat her were unsuccessful. The remains are located on Fraser Island, Australia, and are a popular tourist attraction.
3 RMS Rhone, 1867
The RMS Rhone is one of the most popular shipwrecks in the Caribbean, attracting thousands of amateur divers each year. The UK Royal Mail ship was just shy of her second year in operation when she had an unfortunate demise. Previously used for crossings from Southampton to Brazil, this was the first and last trip that the ship made to the Caribbean. On October 29, 1867, a hurricane caused the ship to wreck off of the coast of the Virgin Islands. Sadly, 123 of the 146 people on board perished with the boat, and many of them are now buried nearby on Salt Island. The ship rests at 85 feet below the water's surface, making it ideal for divers. It has been very well preserved and many species of fish and sea creatures make it a magical dive.
2 HMS Victory, 1744
The HMS Victory was a British Navy ship that was the pride of the country. In 1744, while carrying 1000 passengers, she got lost at sea and was considered missing for quite some time. Aristocrats and midshipmen were amongst the people on board, and the ship was also carrying plenty of gold and silver coinage. The mystery spanned over a decade and a half, until the Odyssey Marine Exploration unit found certain parts of the ship in 2008. To date, only 2 large cannons and several bricks were located, meaning that there are still many items lost at sea. This mysterious wreck is one of the most intriguing for experts and historians.
1 MV Captayannis, 1974
Some of the most impressive shipwrecks are those that are visible from above sea level. The MV Captayannis is one such boat. The Greek vessel, which was transporting sugar, collided with a BP tanker while cruising the River Clyde in Scotland in 1974. The captain acted fast and tried to beach the ship close to the shoreline, which is where she ultimately rests. No one was injured in the wreck and the boat has been left exactly as she went down. Looters have stolen most of the exterior metal, but otherwise, she is left untouched. These days, the Captayannis is a tourist attraction and home to many species of birds and fish.
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