World Discoverer: The Solomon Islands Cruise Ship Wreck

(Image: Philjones828, cc-sa-3.0)

By cruise ship standards, the World Discoverer is relatively small at 287 feet long, but its wreck is still a sight to behold.  Listing 46 degrees to starboard, the rusting vessel languishes near the shore of Roderick Bay, Solomon Islands, where it has become both a tourist attraction and an object of local looting.

(Image: Adrian Turner, reproduced with permission)

The ship was built in Germany in 1974 and initially named the BEWA Discoverer after being sold to Denmark’s BEWA Cruises.  Sold on several times over the years, and registered in a number of countries including Singapore and Liberia, she was ultimately renamed World Discoverer and sported a double hull to allow for voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula.

(Image: Adrian Turner, reproduced with permission)

After more than two decades of service, World Discoverer struck an uncharted reef in the Solomon Islands‘ Sandfly Passage on Sunday, April 30, 2000.  A ferry answered the stricken ship’s distress call and carried her passengers to safety.  Meanwhile Captain Oliver Kruess and his crew heroically grounded World Discoverer in Roderick Bay to avoid sinking.

(Image: Adrian Turner, reproduced with permission)

The wreck has remained in Roderick Bay ever since, but is not thought to post an immediate environmental hazard.  An underwater survey declared World Discoverer a “constructive loss” but efforts to salvage the vessel were hampered by civil war in the Solomon Islands.  Now rusting and ransacked, the World Discoverer makes for an interesting attraction for passing cruise ships.

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