The British Virgin Islands Shipwreck Directory  Caribbean Shipwrecks
Historical and current BVI, Caribbean Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers, fisherman and marine historians.




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   


Chikuzen Shipwreck. Photo by James Scheiner.


Comprised of over 40 islands" and located just east of the U.S. Virgin Islands,
the British Virgin Islands are a wreck diver's dream location. One of the
most famous shipwrecks in the Caribbean, the Rhone is just one example
of the incredible number of wrecks located in this area. Anegada alone,
a submerged reef system, has claimed hundreds of ships over the past
century. Many of these wrecks, especially the ones located on Anegada, are
hard for sport divers to reach because the treacherous shallow reefs, which
caused the demise of so many fine vessels, could just as easily claim a dive
boat. For that reason, many potential dive sites have remained unexplored.

For more information about British Virgin Islands visit the BVI Board of Tourism’s official website –

This, 223 foot long, Korean refrigerator ship was one of a fishing fleet operating
in the area at the time of her sinking. She was built in 1960 in Japan and
originally named Seiju Mau #1. According to Jim Scheiner, underwater
photographer and owner of Rainbow Visions Photography, the vessel's engines
stopped working, but the Korean fishing fleet was still able to make good
use of her refrigeration. On August 11, 1981, the fleet received word that a
storm was coming. The vessel had to be moved from its dock, so the owners
towed it out and tried to scuttle her. They set the ship on fire, but she didn't
sink. The Chikuzen drifted overnight and caused some locals to worry since
they thought she was going to end up on the beach. A tug boat towed the
ship to her present location about seven miles north of Tortola before the
240 foot vessel finally sank.

The Chikuzen is now resting on her port side in 75 feet of water and has
become a popular site for traveling divers. Her intact structure is not yet
heavily developed with marine growth, but huge schools of snappers, jacks,
barracuda, parrot fish, grunts, spade fish and groupers are some of the
local inhabitants. Lots of big fish can also be seen in the area such as
amberjack, eagle rays, and an occasional black tip reef shark.


The wreck of the Fearless, a 70 foot long fishing trawler, lies intact in about 80 feet of water just off Peter Island. She sank in 1986 due to old
age and poor upkeep. According to diver Chip Cooper, a large section of
her starboard. aft hull loosened and down she went.

This unidentified fishing trawler burned and sank off of Cooper's Island
around 1985. She is about 60 feet long and rests on a sand bottom in 60
feet of water.

The Rhone was built by the Millwall Iron Works of England. She was 310
feet long, had a 40 foot beam, and weighed 2,738 gross tons. This Royal
Mail Steamer had 253 first class, 30 second class and 30 third class cabins.
Powered by both sail and steam, she was fitted with a 5CI hp compound
steam engine that could push the vessel at top speed of 14 knots.
During her two years of service for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company,
the Rhone carried mail, passengers, and general cargo. It was on her tenth
voyage that this sleek ship met her doom. At 11:00 AM October 29, 1867,
the Rhone was lying at anchor off Peter Island when the ship's barometer
began to fall fast and the sky turned black. As the wind and sea got wilder,

Captain Wooley put her engines at full speed ahead in an effort to steam
to her anchor and ride out the storm. During this hour, a spar fell from
her rigging; killing first officer, Mr. Topper. During a lull in the storm,
Captain Wooley decided to weigh anchor to gain open sea, but while trying
to hoist the vessels 3,000 pound anchor, a shackle got caught in the hawser
pipe and broke. Her anchor plus about 300 feet of chain were lost. Finally,
the Rhone steamed out towards sea at full power, but before she could
make a clean getaway, the hurricane swept back and down hard, forcing her
stern first onto the rocks of Tortola. The ship soon broke in two taking
with her 123 out of 145 passengers and crew to their watery grave.
Besides losing the Rhone and most of her crew, the Royal Mail Steam
Packet Company also lost the vessels, Derwent and Wye. Two other ships,
the Solent and Tyne, were heavily damaged. No other shipping company to
date has ever sustained such a loss of ships in the course of a single day.
Of the 60 vessels at anchor around St. Thomas and the neighboring islands,
only two survived the severity of this storm.
Today, the Rhone is a Marine Park designated "R.M.S. Rhone National
park". Taking of artifacts, coral or shells is prohibited. Her bow rests in 90
feet of water and points north. The bow section is mostly intact, lying on
its starboard side. Her foremast and crows' nest are intact, and one of her
cannons lies under some wreckage in 70 feet. The wrecks stern lies
perpendicular to her bow and slopes up to shallower water, while the depth
of the aft section ranges from 20 to 80 feet. Any diver who has ever visited
this wreck will surely rave about this experience. Divers can still see
portholes, winches, her boilers, a large set of open end wrenches, her
propeller and bow sprit.


The Rocus was a Greek cargo  vessel that ran aground and sank near Anegada.
he Rocus was transporting a very interesting cargo of cow bones. The Rocus was en route to deliver these bones to a fertilizer factory when she met her demise.
Today the wreck is very broken up in 15 to 35 feet of water. Her rubble
and thousands of bones are scattered over a large area. Some divers refer
to this site as the Graveyard Wreck or Bone Wreck and have reported an
eerie feeling while exploring the wreckage on night dives.


Basic shipwreck information and images for the Caribbean section of this site was taken with permission from the book Tropical Shipwrecks by Daniel and Denise Berg.

You are invited to submit your shipwreck related articles, images and information. As long as the text, photographs, sketches etc are of professional quality we will showcase them. Full credit will be provide and a same page link to your web site can be arranged.
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