Google Earth is great for a lot of things, like finding directions to that restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to, scoping out vacation destinations and creeping on locals in foreign cities. It’s all very fascinating, but the best thing to explore? Google Earth Shipwrecks.
There are an estimated 1 million shipwrecks right now, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While that number isn’t good for marine insurance rates, it’s good for treasure hunters: The NOAA also estimates that these shipwrecks contain $60 billion worth of treasure. The Google Earth shipwrecks listed below have long been looted, but it’s nice to dream.
S.S. Jassim - Sudan
The S.S. Jassim, a Bolivian passenger/cargo ferry, ran aground and capsized on the Wingate Reef off the coast of Sudan in 2003. At 80.54 metres long and 13 metres wide, it’s one of the most easily visible shipwrecks on Google Earth. If you snoop around the reefs, you'll find quite a few other good-sized wrecks.
Nineveh - North Sentinel Island
In 1867, near the end of the monsoon season, the Nineveh, an Indian merchant ship, was wrecked on a reef off the northwest coast of North Sentinel Island. Eighty-six passengers and twenty crewmen got safely to the beach in the ship's boat, but their troubles were just beginning.
You see, North Sentinel Island is inhabited by indigenous people who are among the last in the world to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization. They reject all contact with other people and are quick to defend themselves with spears and arrows.
On the third day, as the castaways sat down to a makeshift breakfast, they were suddenly attacked by a shower of arrows. The captain fled in the ship’s boat, leaving everyone else to fend off their attackers with sticks and stones. Miraculously, they survived and were picked up
by a rescue ship dispatched by the British Royal Navy.
MV Ithaca - Hudson Bay
The MV Ithaca ran aground in 1961 near Churchill, Manitoba. Caught up in high winds and ferocious currents that swept across Hudson Bay, the ship is now a rusted out hull that sits along the rocky spit of Bird Cove.
Russian Ship - Near Murmank
The area surrounding Murmansk, the largest city in the Arctic Circle, is apparently where ships go to die. Some are off by themselves, while others are crammed into bays with dozens of other decrepit ships.
World Discoverer - Solomon Islands
The MS World Discoverer, a German-built cruise ship, struck a large uncharted rock or reef on the Sandfly Passage, Solomon Islands. The captain managed to bring the ship into Roderick Bay after the ship began to list 20 degrees and grounded it to avoid sinking. All the passengers made it safely to shore.
HMS Calypso - Newfoundland
The HMS Calypso, built in 1883, served as a training vessel for the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve before and during WWI. She was sold in 1922 and used in St. John’s to store salt, then towed into the Lewisporte harbour in 1952. Some folks wanted to preserve her, but she was towed into Job’s Cove and burned to the waterline. Not a shipwreck per se, but still a wrecked ship.
The Barque Rewa - New Zealand
The Rewa, aka the Alice Leigh, was a four-masted steel barque that was first launched in 1889. After a life of transporting cargo to and from every corner of the world, she was towed to Moturekareka Island in 1930 and sunk to act as a breakwater.
Minesweeper M113 - Gosport, UK
No one has any idea of how this WWII minesweeper came to be wrecked off Gosport. It has been identified as British-built Minesweeper M113, but the only theory locals have is that it may have become the property of a local timber merchant or a store owner.