Top 5 Most Beautiful Wrecked Ships

There are millions of wrecked ships around the world. But of course, some are more beautiful than others.
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Countless ships, though some estimate around 3 million, have been lost at sea throughout the ages with an incalculable loss of life. But there are some wrecks that have become things of beauty. 

Here we explore 5 of the most beautiful examples of wrecked ships as well as highlights of some other notable shipwrecks around the world.


What is the most famous sunken ship?

There are many famous shipwrecks around the world from various periods of human history. You can probably name at least a few off the top of your head.

But there are some that are widely considered to the "most" famous. According to sites like, here are some of the most notable wrecks around the world: 

  • MS World Discoverer 
  • The Black Swan 
  • MV Dona Paz
  • Queen Anne's Revenge
  • Vasa
  • Mary Rose 
  • USS Arizona 
  • RMS Lusitania
  • The Titanic

What is the most famous shipwreck of all time?

We've already touched on a few above, but there are some other very famous shipwrecks. According to sites like, here are some other notable sunken ships: 

  • The fleet of Kublai Khan
  • The Spanish Armada
  • RMS Empress of Ireland
  • MS Estonia
  • The Andrea Doria
  • MV Doña Paz
  • The Carpathia
  • The Rhone
  • The Sultana

What is the deepest shipwreck ever found?

Back in 2015, during the search for the wreckage of the lost flight MH370, two interesting shipwrecks were found. These two ships, dating from around the 19th Century, are among the deepest and most remote ever found.

The two coal merchant ships, one wooden and one iron, were found about 21 miles apart and lie on the seafloor at a depth of more than 2-miles (3.6 km).

"Both shipwrecks remain unidentified, but using sonar and video data of the wrecks alongside shipping records, the scientists were able to suggest a list of missing vessels that fit the bill. Coal was found around both wrecks, marking them out as merchant craft using the "Roaring 40s" westerly winds to travel the important trading route from the northern hemisphere to Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand." -

The wooden of the two ships might well be a missing brig called the W. Gordon or the bark Magdala. The W. Gordon went missing while on a voyage to the U.K. from Australia in 1877 and had 10 crew onboard. 

Magdala was lost in 1882 while sailing from Wales to Indonesia.

The iron shipwreck could be one of three candidates:- 

  • The Kooringa - lost in l894.
  • Lake Ontario - lost in 1897.
  • West Ridge - lost in 1883.

The West Ridge is probably the best candidate. She was lost while sailing from the U.K. to India with 28 sailors. A sample taken from the wreck showed that the coal on the seabed was British.

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What was the worst shipwreck of all time?

Most shipwrecking events are never pleasant, for obvious reasons, but there are some that are more dramatic, and tragic, than others. Whether the vessels were struck down by the forces of nature or the machinations of man, here are some of the worst shipwrecks in history: 

  • The RMS Lusitania - Built for the same company that owned the Titanic, she was sunk by German submarines in 1915. She sunk within 18-minutes are most of her passengers went down with her. 
  • The RMS Titanic - Famously sunk after colliding with an iceberg in 1912. Being so famous we are confident you know the story.
  • The MV Doña Paz - Sunk after a collision with an oil tanker in 1987. Many of her crew and passengers went down with her. 
  • The MV Goya - A Norwegian freighter, the Goya was captured by the Germans in WW2. She was later sunk by Soviet bombers in 1945, and only 200 of her roughly 7,000 passengers survived.
  • The MV Wilhelm Gustloff - Built in Germany in 1937, this ocean liner was a propaganda piece for the German National Socialist regime. She was sunk in 1945 by a soviet submarine leading to the loss of around 9,400 passengers, including children. 

Top 5 of the most beautiful shipwrecks around the world

There are many wrecked and broken ships around the world. Here are 5 of the most beautiful examples you'll likely ever see.

1. SS Ayrfield's wreck at Homebush Bay is truly stunning

Source: Jason Baker/Wikimedia Commons

Homebush Bay, near Sydney, Australia became the final destination for SS Ayrfield. The steamship was built in Britain in 1911 and launched under the name SS Corrimal

She was later registered in Sydney in 1912 as a coal transporter, or collier, and was later used as a supply vessel for American soldiers serving in the Pacific theater. Post-war, she returned to her original purpose as a collier between Newcastle and Miller's terminal in Blackwattle Bay. 

SS Ayrfield would continue her service until 1972 when she was officially retired and sent to ship-breakers yard. She was never completely broken apart and eventually became a haven for local flora and fauna.

Today she is a popular tourist destination and quite a beautiful sight.

2. The Murmansk was once a proud Soviet Cruiser

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Murmansk was once the pride of the Soviet Navy but now sits rusting in a Norwegian fjord. After being retired from the navy, she was sold to an Indian scrapping company. 

Enroute to her final destination, she got stuck in the shallows of the fjord. She has remained there ever since slowly rusting.

Her wreck is both a navigational hazard and, for some, is considered an eyesore in an otherwise spectacular area of natural beauty. A makeshift dock was built around her and her breakup was finally completed in 2018.

3. HMAS Protector was built to protect Australia from would-be attackers

Source: Sirrob01/Wikimedia Commons

HMAS Protector is another stunning shipwreck that you really should check out if you are in the area. She was ordered by the South Australian Government in 1883 and would become an exceptionally heavily armed vessel for her size with 8-inch and 6-inch breech-loading guns.

The rationale was for her to join a much needed naval force to protect the colony's coasts and harbors. Protector was classified as a light cruiser and had a 920-ton displacement.

Her twin engines were able to push her, and her 90-strong crew, forward with a top speed of 14 knots. After distinguished service with the navy, she was requisitioned by the American army in 1943.

The ship was unfortunately fatally damaged during a collision with a tug off Gladstone while enroute to New Guinea. She couldn't be saved, was abandoned and has slowly been battered by the elements ever since. 

What remains of the old gunboat is now serving a useful purpose as a breakwater on Heron Reef, Queensland.

4. Olympia was wrecked while trying to find a safe harbor

Source: internationalgreg/Wikimedia Commons

The Olympia was once a commercial vessel that was sunk in the waters of the Greek island of Amorgos in February of 1980. Her captain and crew were looking for a safe haven to wait out strong northerly winds on her last day at sea.

But, despite their best efforts, the ship was quickly overcome by rough seas and was eventually grounded in the bay of Liverio near the beach of Kalotaritissa. Thankfully all of her crew were saved.

The shipwreck is also something of a filmstar after featuring in many scenes of the movie "The Big Blue" by Luc Bessen. It is also a popular diving spot today.

5. The Gallant Lady was wrecked by Hurricane Mitch in 1997

Source: Pietro/Wikimedia Commons

Once a small freighter, the Gallant Lady was wrecked after sailing out of Belize City in 1997. This once proud ship was overcome by the raw power of Hurricane Mitch.

For the last 22 years, she has laid where she sank off the shore of Bimini in the Bahamas. Saltwater and regular storms have now taken their toll leaving an almost naked steel skeleton with some hull plates still intact.

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