MS Zenobia, Cyprus
On the bottom of Larnaca Bay, Cyprus, the 10,000 ton ferry MS Zenobia sank during her maiden voyage in June 1980. Named as one of The Times top ten wreck diving sites of the world in 2003, the Swedish-built ship rests on her port side in 42 metres of water. More than three decades later, Zenobia’s car decks are crammed with the hulks of 120 vehicles.
Ancient Shipwreck, Mediterranean Sea
This 50-foot merchant vessel reportedly sank around 3,400 years ago off in the Mediterranean. The ancient wreck, located off the coast of Turkey, contains a host of treasures including a gold chalice, an amphora and a two-handed cup known as a kylix.
Bahamas Boat Wreck, Atlantic Ocean
Heavy seas and busy shipping lanes have seen many a ship disappear to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. This small vessel is one of numerous wrecks littering the waters off the Bahamas.
Sunken F4U Corsair, Oahu, Hawaii
This F4U Corsair has certainly been in the wars, but was actually on a routine training flight when it was forced to ditch due to a fuel shortage in 1946. Thankfully the pilot made a text book water landing before swimming for shore. Decades on, the wreck has become a lively reef teeming with snapper and other marine life.
SS President Coolidge, Pacific Ocean
SS President Coolidge was the largest and finest vessel built by an American shipyard at the time of her launch in 1931, and was later converted into a troop carrier after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Plying some dangerous waters, the President Coolidge sank off the coast of Vanuatu after hitting underwater mines. Today fine mosaic tiles and chandeliers co-exist alongside jeeps and various other military relics within the haunting wreck.
SS Andrea Doria, Atlantic Ocean
Like Titanic, SS Andrea Doria was an icon of national pride – famous during her short service life, but immortalised by her sinking. On that day in 1956, the liner was approaching Nantucket bound for New York City, when she collided with the MS Stockholm, capsizing and sinking the following morning with the loss of 46 souls.
RMS Titanic, Newfoundland
RMS Titanic – the world’s most famous shipwreck, mother of all sunken liners of yesteryear – it’s an obvious choice but one that would be rude not to mention! We all know how the story ended, but since that fateful night in 1912 the Titanic’s wreck, broken into two massive pieces, has become sustenance for metal-eating bacteria that exist in the deepest parts of the Atlantic ocean.
B-17 ‘Blackjack’, Papua New Guinea
One of the Pacific theaters most important wartime relics is undoubtedly this B-17F Flying Fortress, known as ‘Black Jack’ to its crew. The aircraft took off from Port Moresby on June 10, 1943 to bomb Japanese airfields in New Britain. But mechanical problems and violent storms caused co-pilot Joseph Moore to ditch the B-17 in waters off Boga Boga. Black Jack lay undiscovered for 43 years until its discovery by wreck diver Rod Pearce in 1986.
Fishing Boat Wreck, New Ireland
Lying on her port side near the sunken Nakajima (above) is the wreck of a fishing boat. Its hulk might not be as impressive as some of the grand liners and awesome military vessels featured in this collection, but it still presents a compelling dive site for underwater explorers.
Sunken B-25 Wreck, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is known for its wartime wrecks both on land and beneath the sea, and this B-25 Mitchell is a fine example. Known as “Pistoff”, the bomber had been tasked with attacking a Japanese convoy at Lae when it was ambushed by enemy fighters and, unable to make it back to the base, was forced to ditch in Collingwood Bay.
Nakajima Aircraft Wreck, New Ireland
The Nakajima B5N was the Japanese Imperial Navy’s prime torpedo bomber. But like the ships it was designed to sink, this plane ended up in a watery grave. Located near the town of Kavieng in the Papua New Guinean province of New Ireland, the Nakajima makes for an impressive dive site immediately beneath the surface of Balgai Bay.
USS Oriskany, Gulf of Mexico
The aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, better known as the Might O, earned seven battle stars during the Korean War and Vietnam, got a mention in Top Gun and was eventually decommissioned in 1976 following an illustrious career. The vessel slowly decayed over the next 30 years until finally being sunk in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola, Florida, to form the world’s largest artificial reef.
Sweepstakes, Tobermory, Canada
One of 22 shipwrecks throughout Fathom Five National Maritime Park, the once two-masted Sweepstakes is one of the most visible due to its shallow depth and location near the shore in Ontario’s Big Tub Harbor.
This submerged vessel looks more modern than many other Antarctic shipwrecks, but presents an equally ghostly spectacle beneath the icy waters.
USS Kittiwake, Cayman Islands
Resting upright in 62 feet of water on the sandy seabed off Grand Cayman, the former submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake was sunk in January 2011 to form an artificial reef. In these photos, a diver adds scale to the Kittiwake, which thus far remains free of marine life in the crystal clear Caribbean waters.
19th Century Shipwreck, Gulf of Mexico
This amazing discovery was first identified as a mysterious sonar contact during a 2011 survey of the Gulf of Mexico for Shell Oil Company. A year later scientists aboard NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer explored the site and discovered the wreck of a 200-year-old vessel laden with bottles, ceramic plates, cannons, muskets and more.
HMHS Britannic, Aegean Sea
Launched as a hospital ship in 1953, Britannic didn’t go down on her maiden voyage like older sister Titanic, but nevertheless managed less than a year in service. Sunk on November 21, 1916 near the Greek island of Kea, Britannic’s ghostly wreck rests on its starboard side 400 feet beneath the surface of the Aegean Sea.
San Francisco Maru, Truk Lagoon
Nicknamed the “Million Dollar Wreck” due to the perceived worth of its military cargo, the San Francisco Maru is one of the most dived shipwrecks of the Pacific Ocean. The merchant vessel survived several attacks before its luck ran out on February 18, 1944, when a 500lb bomb dropped by a Grumman Avenger killed five crew and sent the vessel to the bottom of Truk Lagoon. Three Type 95 Ha Go tanks still sit on deck, while trucks, fuel barrels and torpedoes linger on in the holds.
Nippo Maru, Truk Lagoon
Another submerged resident of Truk Lagoon is the Nippo Maru, which was discovered by Jacques Cousteau’s expedition of 1969. Sitting upright with a 25 degree list to port, the wreck still contains the personal effects of its former crew along with munitions, a tank and these ghostly gas masks – haunting reminders of war.
Zero Fighter Aboard Fujikawa Maru, Micronesia
Operation Hailstone, initiated by the US in February 1944 in a bid to sink the Japanese fleet, which was anchored in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, paved the way for some of the best wreck diving in the world. Today almost 50 vessels from the Imperial Japanese Navy litter the sea bed. Their cargoes of coral-encrusted tanks, cars and aircraft, including three disassembled Zero fighters in the forward hold of the Fujikawa Maru, make for some compelling dive sites.
SS Thistlegorm, Red Sea
The British Merchant Navy ship SS Thistlegorm was only a year old when a German bomber sent it to the bottom of the Red Sea. The bomb exploded midships, blasting a gaping hole through the superstructure that left the wreck easily accessible to divers. Exploring the Thistlegorm’s cargo of wartime trucks, motorbikes and shattered steam locomotives is like venturing back in time.
Remains of a Dismantled Steam Engine
Thanks to numerous sunken cargo vessels, all manner of man-made treasures lurk on the ocean floor. Here a diver examines the boiler of a steam engine that was blown off the deck of the SS Thistlegorm when it was sunk on October 6, 1941.
Russian Surveillance Vessel, Red Sea
Fierce currents, storms and chains of coral reefs have long conspired to turn the Red Sea into one of the world’s most impressive martime graveyards. This Russian Moma Class surveillance ship sits at a depth of 25 metres – one among dozens of major shipwrecks in Egyptian waters near the border with Sudan.