This article will highlight the most incredible shipwrecks around the world and maybe prompt a curious expedition or two. Go check them out while they still exist, daily battered by the wind and merciless waves.
Let's start with the biggest.
The majestic USS "Oriskany" - a giant abandoned aircraft carrier - has become a real treasure for diving adventurers and tour operators (more images here).
Brought 22 miles off shore and sunk there in 2006, its gutted remains may have served as a powerful inspiration for some designers in the movie and game industry. It certainly looks like something that could loom out of the time vortex, in the mist somewhere....
"Murmansk (built 1955) - one of the last all gun cruisers. Lost in 1994 while in tow to India, and is now aground on Sørøya, Norway. It still remains intact, complete with all guns, 5 decks above, water 5 below" - so, get on the diving expedition, what are you waiting for?
Most Photographed (and Beautiful) Shipwreck:
The "American Star" off Hesperides
One of the most evocative, and visually exciting - by the virtue of its location just off the sandy coastline, and its glamorous past... Just look at the picture of "SS America" in its heyday in 1943:
a similar ship SS United States in 1952
The history of the "American Star" is nicely documented on this page. After long and lustrious career as a luxury liner, it got wrecked at Fuerteventura in 1994 and since became a total loss. This is how the ship looked right after it snapped in two:
Get moving now, and explore these rusty behemoths before the nature, or humans, get to them!
Ships in Peril, and Ships Perishing
The following are harrowing, sometimes genuinely frightening photographs of shipwrecks-in-progress, where even the most hardened of ships and crews meet their doom - at the mercy of nature's elements.
"Victor Karyakin" fishing vessel meets some unforgiving rocks at the Rybachi island. 12-strong crew was in deadly peril, as no other ship could come close to the same rocky shore. The crew was saved by Norvegian Coast Guard "Sea King" helicopter:
Thinking about taking an Arctic or Antarctic cruise? Even in our days of powerful icebreaker ships (see some awesome examples here) the combination of extreme weather and unfortunate circumstances can easily become fatal.
"G.A.P Adventures" was arranging the cruises on board of the 1969-built "Explorer" ship ($9,000 per person), when in 2007 "it struck the ice, took on water (as 154 passengers and crew members scrambled to safety aboard lifeboats and rafts), and then sunk to the bottom" (see video) -
(photos by Chile's Navy)
And yes, just like the "Titanic" it struck an iceberg, which caused a 10 by 4 inch (25 × 10 cm) gash in the hull. (more info). The iceberg went unnoticed because the vessel presumably was going with the unsafe speed...
(Sinking of "Titanic", visualized by Robert Avotin in Soviet TM magazine 1971)
Pasha Bulker - a huge freighter grounded in Australia
A 820-foot-long coal freighter sits aground close to Newcastle, Australia - pushed into the sand bank by the storm swell and extreme winds. (more info)
Some of the photographs look like they'd been photoshopped - so unreal is the combination of a beached ship and suburban golf courses and houses.
Surreal beach scenes:
In the same 2007 storm, three other coal ships had sent distress calls and were at the risk of being washed up.
More Container Ships in Peril
It seems to happen quite often: there is a large website Container Shipping which documents such events:
The shipwrecks of the Aral Sea (which lies between Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan, former Soviet-Union republics) are just as numerous, but less known. The Aral Sea is catastrophically disappearing (shrunk more than 80 percent in its volume) since the 1960s...
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