10 Haunting Shipwrecks & Maritime Graveyards Around the World

8. Skeleton Coast, Namibia

skeleton-coast-shipwreck-2 (Image: Anagoria, cc-3.0)

The Skeleton Coast is aptly named; the Portuguese once dubbed it the “Gates of Hell”, and that pretty much, absolutely, neatly sums up the desolate stretch of African coast. Pristine and beautiful, its harsh climate has protected it from human encroachment, to a point. It gets its official name from the massive animal graveyard that litters the coast, full of the bones of turtles, whales, seals and other marine creatures. There’s also the shipwrecks.

skeleton-coast-shipwreck-4 (Image: mp3lef, cc-nc-sa-4.0)

Many of the wrecks are little more than pieces, battered by Antarctic winds. Look carefully, and you’ll see what little remains of ocean liners alongside gunboats and the tugboats that have tried valiantly to save so many other craft – and failed.

skeleton-coast-shipwreck (Image: Ijonas Kisselbach, cc-nc-sa-4.0)

The most famous of the wrecks is the British Blue Star liner the Dunedin Star. It sits alongside the wrecks of the ships that tried to save it, and the giant whale bones that mark the graves of those who died in the attempts. The ship was on its way from Liverpool to South Africa and then on to Egypt with a full load of cargo when it struck an unknown, submerged object and was beached in 1942. Abandoned, some of the cargo wasn’t recovered until 1951.

skeleton-coast-shipwreck-3 (Image: Mark Dhawn, cc-sa-3.0)

There’s also the remains of another vessel dated to around 1860; its crew, nothing more than a dozen headless skeletons, were only found about 70 years ago. Someone survived the shipwreck; the only reason we know is the slate he had buried alongside the remains of his crew mates. It was etched with the message that the survivor was heading to a river to the north, but he was never found.


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About the author: Debra Kelly



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