The complete scuba divers guide to shipwrecks around the Island of Bermuda




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   

IRISTO shipwreck stern underwater photo Bermuda   IRISTO shipwreck portholes Bermuda        

By Capt. Dan Berg

Photo: Stern of the Iristo wreck. Photo by Alan Marquardt. Portholes recovered from the Iristo Shipwreck. Photo by Peter Phillips.

The Norwegian steamer, Iristo, was built in 1918 by American SB. Company., Lorain, Ohio. Originally named Lake Jessup, she was 251 feet long, had a 43.5 foot beam and displaced 1,821 gross tons. This vessel was going to be named War Briar and was contracted to be built by the British Government. However, when the United States entered World War I, all merchant ships being built in the U.S. were requisitioned by the U.S. Shipping Board. She was sold in 1921 to the International Coal Transportation Corp. She was sold again in 1925 to Norwegian owners andre-named Ekstrand. She was again sold in 1935 to Hans F. Grann and re-named Iristo.

On March 15, 1937, under the command of Captain Christian Stephensen, she was enroute from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Bermuda, with a cargo of flour, 200 barrels of gasoline, a steam roller and afire engine. Captain Christian spotted the Cristobal Colon, a ship that had run aground the year before and was sitting high on the submerged reef, and assumed she was under way and in the channel, even though the Colon's wreck information had been posted in Notice to Mariners. He ordered a change of course and actually followed the Cristobal Colon into the reefs about two miles off North Rock. She was pulled off at about 4:00 PM the same day by a salvage tug from St. George's. The next day, while in tow, the Iristo sunk one mile east of the North East Breakers to her final resting place due to the wounds she had suffered on the reef.

Captain Stephensen was blamed for the wreck by the Marine Board of Inquiry. He was charged with negligence for having no local charts or the knowledge published in the Notice to Mariners about the year old Cristobal Colon wreck.

This wreck is known locally as the Aristo. This spelling may have come from the original New York Times report on the wreck in which reporters misspelled her name. 

Today, the Iristo is resting very close to the Cristobal Colon wreck on a sand and coral bottom in 50 to 55 feet of water. Her stern and bow are intact, and divers will find two large anchors, her boilers, engine and a broken propeller that all make for excellent photo opportunities.


The information listed above was taken with permission from the Book:
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Retail $14.95




Now also Available as an instant download printable PDF eBook

A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks

Buy Now  only $9.95
4.5 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page downloadable ebook. From the first quarter of the 16th century, Bermuda became a landmark for Spanish ships sailing back to Spain from the New World. The desire to sight Bermuda to confirm their position often ended their voyage as they wrecked on Bermuda's outer reefs. To this day Bermuda's treacherous reefs have taken their toll on shipping. The reefs have claimed vessels ranging from ocean lines to small fishing boats. Bermuda Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive, accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and stories ever written about the legendary wrecks around Bermuda. Bermuda Shipwrecks includes over 100 illustrations comprised of 61 sensational color photos, 17 rare b&w historical images, 19 stamps, 4 sketches plus one map. Bermuda Shipwrecks contains a wealth of enlightening information that gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition of over 55 of Bermuda's most popular Shipwrecks. 

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