Get ready a ‘wreck’ of a list: 25 stunning sunken ships that you’ll want to visit! Fact: There are over three million sunken ships sitting on the ocean floor. Just stop and think about that for a second. Three. Million. Ships. Sunken after an accident, due to unfavorable weather conditions, or war, some of them have been scattered across the oceanic panorama for centuries.
In their ocean graves, these amazing sunken ships hold valuable information. They are a time machine to the past. With the ocean being so vast, it was nigh-impossible to find these ships, until now. Treasure hunters and diving enthusiast have found ways to overcome the limitations of the ocean.
Better and newer technology has helped adventurers seek out incredible underwater finds. Because, face it, shipwrecks are very popular and sought-after sites for divers and those with a large curiosity. So, come join the adventure and look at 25 Stunning Sunken Ships That You’ll Want To Visit.
SS President Coolidge, Vanuatu
Originally built as a U.S. luxury ocean liner, SS President Coolidge served as a troopship from December 1941 until October 1942, when she was sunk by mines in Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides. Divers can explore this gigantic wreck on both shallow and deep dives. The ship was equipped with heaps of military gear including howitzer cannons, a General Motors Corporation truck or tracked vehicles that can be still found in the wreck.
Um El Faroud, Malta
Launched in 1969, Um El Faroud was a 10,000 ton Libyan owned single screw motor tanker. Following a gas explosion during maintenance work in 1995, she was scuttled off the coast of Malta as an artificial reef and diving attraction. The wreck sits upright on the sandy seabed in the southwestern coast of Malta, at a depth of 59 to 82 feet.
MS Zenobia, Cyprus
MS Zenobia was a Swedish built Challenger-class RO-RO ferry launched in 1979. She sank close to the city of Larnaca, Cyprus, in June 1980 on her maiden voyage. The ship now rests on her port side in approximately 140 feet of water and is considered one of the best wreck diving sites in the world.
USS Scuffle, Mexico
USS Scuffle was a minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II. In October 1962, she was sold to the Mexican Navy and renamed ARM DM-05. She was sunk as an artificial reef and dive attraction off of a Mexican island Cozumel in 1999. Since then, it is known as “The Cozumel Wreck.”
MTS Oceanos, South Africa
Launched in July 1952, MTS Oceanos was a French-built and Greek-owned cruise ship. She sank off South Africa’s eastern coast on 4 August 1991 during a storm which caused leaking in the engine room and eventually flooded the ship. The wreck lies at a depth of between 302 and 318 feet, about 3 miles offshore. Divers have visited the wreck site, but currents are strong and there are many sharks in the area, so diving to the wreck is difficult.
USS Oriskany, Florida
Nicknamed Mighty O, this ship was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers completed during or shortly after World War II for the US Navy. In May 2006, it was deliberately sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, 23 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. At 900 feet long, it is the world’s largest artificial reef.
SS Thistlegorm, Red Sea
Built in 1940, The SS Thistlegorm was a British armed Merchant Navy ship. She was sunk by a German bomb in October 1941 near the southern extreme of the Sinai Peninsula in the Red Sea and is now a well known diving site. The ship was loaded with trucks, motorcycles, rifles, and many other items that can still be found in the wreck.
HMHS Britannic, Aegean Sea
Sister ship of Titanic, Britannic was intended to enter service as the transatlantic passenger liner. In 1916, she was shaken by an explosion, caused by an underwater mine, in the Kea Channel off the Greek island of Kea. It sank just 55 minutes after the explosion, killing 30 people. Resting at a depth of about 400 feet, the wreck was first discovered and explored by Jacques Cousteau in 1975.
SS Andrea Doria, North Atlantic Ocean
SS Andrea Doria was an Italian ocean liner built in 1951. Of all Italy’s ships at the time, it was the largest, fastest and supposedly safest vessel. In July of 1956, Andrea Doria was struck in the side by the SS Stockholm. Forty-six people died on board the Andrea Doria and 5 were killed on the Stockholm. Quick work by other ships and great communications helped in this tragedy which could have turned into a scenario similar to Titanic.
Bismarck, North Atlantic Ocean
Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the battleship was built for Nazi navy in 1936. In May 1941, Bismarck was severely attacked by British fleet and the crew decided to scuttle her with heavy loss of life. The wreck was located in June 1989 by Robert Ballard, who found the wreck sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean some 470 miles west of Brest at a depth of 15,700 feet.
Prince Albert, Honduras
Prince Albert is an island freighter with an intact superstructure that was scuttled near the Roatan Island in 1987. Sitting at a depth of 40 – 70 feet, the shipwreck is covered with a variety of corals and is home to an abundant marine wildlife.
Ghost Ship, Baltic Sea
The Ghost Ship was accidentally discovered in 2003 by a crew searching for a Swedish plane shot down in WWII on the Baltic Sea. Following scientific researches suggested that the ship was built around 1650 and is believed to be a type of Dutch sailing cargo ship. Since the Baltic Sea has almost no tidal movement and the salinity is only 0.06-0.15%, shipworms are not able to inhabit it, which makes the Ghost ship one of the most ancient and well-preserved vessels in the world.
No shipwreck list would be complete without the most famous shipwreck of them all. The story is well known – Titanic, fresh out of the shipyard and sparkling new, was on its maiden voyage from England to New York when it hit an iceberg just before midnight, April 14, 1912, sinking to the bottom in just a few hours later. The location of the wreck was not known until 1985 when Dr. Robert D. Ballard, found it 370 miles south-southeast of the coast of Newfoundland, lying at a depth of about 12,500 feet.
Umbria, Red Sea
Originally built as a passenger cargo vessel capable of carrying over 2,000 passengers and 9,000 tons of cargo, in 1935 Umbria was purchased by the Italian Government, and refitted as a troopship. After WWII broke out, Umbria – loaded with 360,000 bombs, 60 boxes of detonators and other stores totaling 8,600 tons – was scuttled in the Red Sea. Sitting still on the same place, in perfect conditions, Umbria is often considered the best shipwreck diving site in the world.
L.R. Doty, Lake Michigan
L.R. Doty was a great, 300 feet long wooden steamship that sank more than a century ago in a violent storm at Lake Michigan. She was finally rediscovered in June 2010, after being lost for incredible 112 years. Found below more than 300 feet of water, the wreck was still upright and intact with even the corn cargo still safely in its hold.
MV Rozi, Malta
MV Rozi was a tugboat launched in 1958. In 1981 she was sold to Tug Malta, and renamed Rozi, operated in Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta. The boat was scuttled in 1992 off the port of Cirkewwa as an artificial reef and attraction. Rozi stands tall in roughly 120 feet of water and is home to many sea creatures including jellyfish, and moray eels.
Sweepstakes was a Canadian schooner built in Burlington, Ontario in 1867. It was damaged off Cove Island then towed to Big Tub Harbour, where it sank in September 1885. The remains of Sweepstakes lie in the water at a depth of just 20 feet in Big Tub Harbour in Ontario. This schooner is popular wreck diving site visited by tour boat passengers, divers, and snorkelers.
Patrol boat P 29, Malta
Originally built as Kondor I-class minesweeper, the ship was sold to Malta in 1997, renamed P29 and was used as a patrol boat. After being decommissioned, she was scuttled as a dive site in 2007 off the port of Cirkewwa.
Cristobal Colon, Bermuda
Cristobal Colon is the biggest of Bermuda’s shipwrecks. This massive Spanish cruise liner was almost 500 feet long and 3 decks high. The vessel was built in 1923 and operated between New York and Central America. In October 1936, the ship crashed into the coral reefs off the Bermuda’s North Shore as the captain wrongly interpreted an offshore communication tower.
Built in 1907, the Greek steamer, Pelinaion, was 385 feet in length and displaced 4,291 gross tons. In December 1939, the ship sailed from Takoradi, West Africa, for Baltimore, Maryland, with a cargo of iron ore when she was wrecked off David’s Head, Bermuda. Today, the Pelinaion lies scattered in 65 feet of water.
RMS Rhone, British Virgin Islands
RMS Rhone was a British packet ship owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. She was wrecked off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands in October 1867 in a hurricane, taking the lives of 123 people. It is now a leading Caribbean wreck dive site.
Russian Wreck, Red Sea
The ship, commonly known as the Russian Wreck, might be a Russian spy ship called Khanka. The shipwreck lies at a depth of about 80 feet near Zabargad Island in Red Sea. If it really is the spy ship Khanka, it sank in 1982 after hitting a reef.
Mar Sem Fim, Shetland Islands
This 76-feet long Brazilian research vessel was manned by a crew of researchers filming a documentary in Maxwell Bay of the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica when the ship became stuck in the ice. Then, the boat was sent to the bottom of the shallow bay where she would sit in about 30 feet of water, perfectly preserved in the shallow arctic environment.
Frigate 356, Caribbean Sea
Located at Cayman Brac island of the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, Frigate 356 is one of only a few sunken Soviet naval vessels in the Western Hemisphere. The warship was transferred to the Cuban Navy and was being prepared for service when the USSR collapsed. After being unused for ten years, the Frigate was bought by the Cayman government and scuttled as a dive wreck in 1996.
Giannis D, Red Sea
Here’s a ship worthy of the number one spot on our list of 25 stunning sunken ships that you’ll want to visit! With a length of 330 feet, Giannis D is one of the largest shipwrecks in Sha’ab Abu Nuhas, a coral reef northwest of Shadwan Island in the northern Red Sea.
The Greek cargo ship was used for transporting wood until April 1983 when it sank after hitting the reef on its way from Croatia to Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, Giannis D has another name, in a completely different country.
The massive ship was built at the Kuryshima Dock Company of Imabari, in Japan. It was completed in 1969 and its name was Shoyo Maru. It carried that name until 1975 when it was sold to another company and renamed Markus. A few years later, the ship was sold yet again and this time, it was named Giannis D.
There’s no doubt about it, when a ship that big sinks into the ocean, there is going to be a lot to discover. Not only will divers find history inside those walls, but they’ll probably find a wealth of sea life using the shell of the ship as their home!