Skip navigation has a fascinating interactive map for many of the shipwreck sites around Bermuda.  Forget, for a moment, the Bermuda Triangle mumbo-jumbo that’s been selling mass market paperbacks for decades.   There’s a highly practical reason why the island chain has seen so many vessals sink in it’s waters, and a lot of that is due to the coral reefs circling the island.  Navigating the channels between them can be treacherous, especially before the advent of modern boating and navigational technology.  Basically, ramming into a choral reef can easily lead to a hull breach.  As for the shipwreck cites, here are a few excerpts:

From the American Civil War:

One of Bermuda’s most historic shipwrecks is the Mary Celestia – a side paddlewheel steamer chartered by the Confederacy during America’s Civil War. She was utilized as a blockade runner, smuggling much needed guns, ammunition, supplies and food to the troops in the South. The sleek, 225 foot ship sank in 1864, after hitting a reef close to the south shore of Bermuda. The wreck lies in 55 feet of water, with one of her paddlewheel frames standing upright like a miniature ferris wheel. The other paddlewheel lies flat on the sand, along with other interesting artifacts such as the boilers, anchor and part of the bow.

The Xing Da, Chinese Triads, US illegal immigration:

[The Xing Das is a ] 221 foot freighter became the target of a US Immigration sting operation to capture those trying to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States. On October 6, 1996, crewed by suspected members of the Chinese Mafia known as the Triad, the Xing Da was to rendezvous at a pre-arranged place in the mid-Atlantic with a second, smaller ship to transfer the “cargo” and supposedly continue on to America. Instead, what they found 140 miles off Bermuda was the U.S. Coast Guard and a regiment of the U.S. Marines. After being towed into Bermuda, broken down beyond repair and destined for a water grave, the Bermudan Government negotiated for possession of the freighter. On May 15, 1997, the Xing Da was towed past the seaward edge of Bermuda’s northwest facing barrier reef and sent to the bottom where she was successfully placed even keel in 104 feet of water.


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