Image: Andy Neatham
To many, the words “shipwreck” and “sunken ship” conjure images of treasure and piracy in days long since past, but in fact the sunken wrecks of ancient wooden ships are the exception rather than the rule…
Over three million shipwrecks are sat on the ocean floor, according to the United Nations. Some sank because of war, others due to the weather or accidents, and still others have been deliberately scuttled. We’ve trawled the murky ocean depths to find ten fascinating sunken ships – together with the story behind each wreck.
Image: Copyright: Mark Lightfoot
10. Frigate 356, Cayman Brac
In the waters of Cayman Brac, 150 miles south of Cuba and 40 to 90 feet below the surface, lies Frigate 356, a spectral sunken ship that has split in two. Built by the Soviets in the early 1980s – during the dying stages of the Cold War – she was transferred to the Cuban Navy and was being prepared for service when the USSR collapsed. After sitting as scrap for ten years, the 306 feet-long warship was bought by the Cayman government, scuttled as a dive wreck, and renamed the ship Capt. Keith Tibbetts. On the seabed, she initially settled overhanging a 6,000-foot undersea cliff known as The Wall, but batterings by storms gradually moved her back to a position 100 feet away from the precipice. Interestingly, nature has had a hard time getting a grasp on the ship because of her resistance to rust. Photographer Mark Lightfoot explains: “Its primary component, aluminum, has rendered it a death ship in the afterlife.”