Co. Antrim Wrecks

Chirripo

(GPS 54 45.938N 05 40.651W)

Description: The Elders and Fyffes cargo liner of over 4000 tons was torpedoed and sunk about 800m southeast of Black Head Lighthouse on the 28th December 1917. She is lying on her starboard side in 28m of water – 16m to the hand rail. She lies northwest-southeast direction and is a great dive for lobsters. The screw was raised in 1970. Best time to dive her is 1 hour before high or low water at Belfast. Boats can be launched at Whitehead up to 2 hours before and 2 hours after low water. Visibility can be up to 15m. Average 8–10m. An excellent dive for the more adventurous. Launching facilities at Whitehead up to 2 hours before or 2 hours after high water Belfast.

Tiberia

(GPS 54 46.476N 05 38.653W)

Description: The Anchor Lines cargo liner Tiberia of nearly 5000 tons was torpedoed and sunk 2.4km NE of Black Head by UB-19. She is lying in 63m of water, 50m to the bridge and 39m to the top of the forward mast. She is sitting upright on the seabed in a south-north direction. Best time to dive her is 45 min. before high or low water Belfast. Visibility can be up to 20m – average 8–10m. This is a great dive only for experienced divers. Beware there are a few mono filament nets on her superstructure. Launching from Whitehead up to 2 hours before and 2 hours after low water Belfast.

Lagan

(GPS 54 43.049N 05 35.243W)

Description: The Kelly’s vessel Lagan was in a collision with the steamer Elmfield at the mouth of Belfast Lough in March 1946. She is lying on her side in a west-east direction in 30m of water. Quite a nice dive for the more adventurous. Best dived one hour before or after high water Belfast. Launching at Whitehead up to 2 hours before or after low water or at Carrickfergus or Bangor at any time.

Normandy Hall

Description: Motor Coaster – sunk 8th October 1965. The Normandy Hall of Chester foundered 800m south of Kilroot in the early hours of 8th October 1965 after a gallant 15 hour effort to tow her to safety. She had grounded in fog at Torr Point on the Ards Coast on the 6th October while bound from Birkenhead to Belfast. She was re-floated and taken in tow by the tanker Oarsman. She slowly settled in the water and sank 800m from shore. She is badly broken up as she was dispersed by explosives due to being a shipping hazard. Visibility in the area is poor 3–8m. Launching from Carrickfergus or Whitehead.

Housatonic

(GPS 54 57.255N 05 44.805W)

Description: The Housatonic, a steam tanker of 4041 tons, was owned by the Anglo American Oil Company and was in ballast from Barrow to New York. She grounded at 11pm on the Russell Rock north of the Maidens. Rockets were lit and fired but one fell back on board ship and started a fire. Thirty minutes later there was a huge explosion and the Housatonic slid off the rock and vanished. Two of the crew were lost. The wreck lies against the northeast side of the Russell Rock with the bow in 7m of water and the stern in 35m. She is badly broken up due to her exposed position.
Can be dived at either high or low water – Belfast. The last of the ebb is best. Launching facilities at Ballylumford Harbour, Islandmagee. A good dive to gain experience on wrecks. Visibility can be up to 25m with an average 10–15m.

Albia

Description: Spanish tramp steamer of 1806 tons carrying ore, she ran aground on the 28th September 1929 on the south side of the Allen Rock, north of the Maidens. She is lying upright in 5–10m of water, bow towards the rock and is easy to locate. The stern section is intact, however, the bow and amidships are broken up. The propeller and rudder are still in place. A lovely dive for the beginner Best dived from low water Belfast on, as she is sheltered by the rock – cannot be dived on the ebb tide. Visibility – 10m average. Launching at Ballylumford, lslandmagee.

Large Smuggling Cutter

Description: On the 7th November 1781 the London Chronicle reported a large smuggling cutter of Kintyre wrecked on the Maidens laden with contraband from Gottenburg. She had on board 1400 chests of fine tea, 100 ditto silk and 60 ankers of spirits. Out of 47 hands, 31 were saved. The captain, mate and cargo were lost. The same cutter had fought Captain Crawford in the Bay of Benluce 8 weeks previously. The vessel, her name unfortunately lost to us, was described as of 250 tons burden and mounted with no less than 16 guns. This ship was no doubt engaged in full time smuggling and bigger than many deep sea traders of the day. She had a very large crew and formidable armour to repulse a HM Revenue cruiser. She now lies badly broken up on the north side of the Allen Rock in 5–15m of water. She can be dived during neap tides, however, is best dived at slack tide half an hour each side of high water Belfast. This wreck is rarely dived. Launching at Ballylumford, lslandmagee.

Large American Trader

Description: A large American Trader, a sailing ship, was lost with all hands at the same point as the smuggling cutter in March 1798. She is badly broken up and is also on the north side of the Allen Rock. There is very little left, however as this wreck is rarely dived there is bound to be a lot more to discover. Lying in 5–15m of water.

Dalnada

Description: The Collier Dalnada, 200 tons, was en route from Ayr to Larne with coal when she ran aground on the east side of the Allen Rock and was a total loss. She lies in 4–15m of water and is best dived half an hour before high or low water Belfast. This wreck is rarely dived. Visibility Average 10m. Easily found on the easterly side of the rock. Launching at Ballylumford, lslandmagee.

Sumatra

Description: The largest square-rigger sailing vessel (1551 tons) ever lost on the Antrim Coast. She was en route from Greenock to Rangoon with a full cargo of coal when she ran aground on the east side of the Highland Rock, north of the Maidens. She is badly broken up and easily found in 8-18m of water and rarely dived. There are still artefacts to be found. Best dived _ hour before high or low water Belfast. Visibility average 10m. Launching Facilities at Ballylumford, lslandmagee.

Maria

Description: Canadian Barquentine, sank 3rd July 1882. The Maria ran aground on the east side of the Highland Rock while en route from Liverpool to Pictou, Nova Scotia with a cargo of chains. She is also badly broken up and easily found lying in 5–15m of water beside the Sumatra. Best dived half an hour before high or low water Belfast. She is rarely dived and there are still artefacts to be found. Average visibility 10m. Launching facilities at Ballylumford, Islandmagee.

Norseman

(GPS 54 55.780N 05 43.533W)

Description: The 200 ton steamer Norseman was en route from Ayr to Magheramorne in December 1916 when she grounded on the north side of the East Lighthouse on the Maidens. She is badly broken up and lying in 6–15m of water. Rarely dived she is best dived at slack water half an hour before high or low water at Belfast. The last of the flood tide is best. Visibility normally is 8–10m. Launching at Ballylumford, Islandmagee.

Overton

(GPS 54 55.558N 05 43.515W)

Description: The 250 ton steamer Overton was carrying general cargo from Liverpool to Larne when she ran aground in fog on the southeast tip of the Saddle Rock. Attempts to dislodge her failed and she disappeared in heavy seas on 12th December 1955. She is quite badly broken up and lying in 8–16m of water. She is rarely dived and there are still artefacts to be found. She is best dived half an hour before high or low water Belfast. The last of the ebb is best. Visibility is normally 8–10m. Launching facilities at Ballylumford, Islandmagee.

Industry

Description: The Sloop Industry foundered on 31st December 1821 after striking one of the rocks off the Maidens. Her wreck has not yet been located.

Pembury

Description: The 383 ton steamer Pembury left Ardrossan on the 5th August 1897 with coal for Belfast. She encountered heavy fog and ran aground on one of the rocks of the southern group of the Maidens. Captain Russell and the 10 crew members quickly left her and the chief engineer had no time to blow off steam. Eight minutes after touching, her boiler exploded with a deafening report. The entire crew were saved, however, the Pembury was a total loss. As the area is rarely dived she has not yet been located.

Raylight

Description: The MV Raylight (117 ton) struck the Highland Rock in thick fog at 7am on 4th August 1975. She was on her way south from Dunbegan in Skye to Kilroot to load salt. She sank less than 10 minutes after grounding and her crew were picked up by the ferry Ulidia within 20 minutes. The wreck has not yet been located as diving in the area is rare. This will prove to be a lovely dive when found. Visibility in this area can be up to 25m.

Zetland

Description: The 700 Tons Steamer Zetland was lost off the Russell Rock in the early part of this century. She has not yet been located and details of her loss are very scant.

State of Louisiana

Description: Bow: (GPS 54 52.911N 05 45.118W)
Hunter Rock: (GPS 54 52.913N 05 45.066W)
The State Steamship Company Liner the State of Louisiana was approaching Larne from Glasgow on 24th December 1878 with 17 passengers and 2000 tons of cargo. Unknown to Captain McGowan the buoy marking Hunter Rock off Larne had been dislodged. She grounded on Hunter Rock, and was badly holed and lay for 2 weeks before breaking into 3 parts and slipping beneath the waves. The bow and bridge sections lie on the south side of the highest point of the rock while the rear mast and stern section lies to the north of the rock (the top of the rock is 4m at low tide). The bow section is intact and lying on its port quarter in 24m of water. The bridge portion is sitting upright 15m from the rock and 15m eastern from the bow. The stern section lies in 25m of water at the base of the rock. This is one of the most interesting wrecks in the area. It abounds with sea life and visibility can be up to 20m. Beginners can work their way down the rock from 5m. Best dived 1 hour before high or low water Belfast. Launching facilities at Ballylumford, lslandmagee.

Alcedo

(GPS 54 48.695N 05 41.402W)

Description: The Alcedo, a steamer of 200 tons was wrecked in January 1892 at the Gobbins Cliffs on her maiden voyage. She is very badly broken up and lying against the cliff face in 7m of water. She can be dived at any state of the tide and is rarely visited. Visibility is usually 5-10m. Launching facilities at Whitehead up to 2 hours before and 2 hours after low water Belfast.

Black Diamond

(GPS 54 47.252N 0541.315W)

Description: The wooden hull was an oddity for a steam vessel of 259 gross tons, but she had a robust two cylinder steam engine from Coates Works in Belfast. She was wrecked 1.6km North of Blackhead. She is badly broken up and wreckage at the above position is thought to be the Black Diamond. The site is rarely dived and needs more research. The wreckage is lying in 7m of water directly opposite a blue 40ft container on the foreshore. Visibility 5–10m. She can be dived at any state of the tide. Launching at Whitehead up 2 hours before and 2 hours after low water Belfast.

Peridot

(GPS 54 51.608N 05 45.691W)

Description: The 200 ton coaster Peridot was en route from Scotland to Camlough on 25th November 1905 with a cargo of coal. An easterly gale forced the small coaster to run for the safety of Larne Lough. She foundered on Skernaghan Point at Browns Bay and her entire crew of 9nine were lost. The vessel had broken in two and was just visible above the waves. The bow section lies approximately 20m to the southwest of the point while the stern section lies to the east of the rock. She is badly broken up with the boiler just below the surface. The bell was recovered by divers in 1995. She is rarely dived and is excellent for beginners. Can be dived 1 hour before high or low water Belfast. Best dived at the last of the ebb. Launching from Ballylumford, Islandmagee.

Ailsa

(GPS 54 51.204N 05 44.302W)

Description: Built 1867, wrecked 26th February 1892, length 100ft. The Ayr Shipping Company’s Ailsa was on a regular run from Ayr to Belfast with general cargo and one passenger when she ran aground and was a total loss approximately 1.2km north of Portmuck. She is badly broken up and lying in 3–5m of water. Part of her hull can be seen on the shore above the high water mark. She can be dived at any state of the tide. Visibility usually 5–10m. Launching at either Portmuck at high tide or Ballylumford, Islandmagee at any time.
Skernaghan Point Area
(GPS 54 51.590N 05 45.740 W)
The following known ships have been wrecked on or near Skernaghan Point, however they have not been located as yet.
The sloop ‘Roberts’ in 1811 she was carrying glass and china and was washed into Browns Bay during a snow storm.
The barque ‘J.E. Hudson’ in 1827.
The brig ‘Alpha’ in 1827.
The steamer ‘Tuskar’ lost on 27th November 1891 was 397 gross tons and was carrying 100 tons of limestone from Glenarm. No less than 12 ships were lost on Skernaghan Point during the early 1800’s, their names are now lost to us.

Harrington

(GPS 54 51.124N 05 47 355W)

Description: The Harrington (1000 tons) was leaving Larne when she got a rope entangled in her propeller. Before her anchor could bring her up she grounded at the extreme end of Ferris Point and became a total loss. Her crew were all rescued by breeches buoy and when she finally broke up her cargo of potatoes was strewn all over the island shore. She is badly broken up and rarely dived. Lying in 3-6m of water she is an excellent shore dive. There are lots of congers lurking in the wreckage. Access is best from Ballylumford with good car parking. Beware of large ferries entering and leaving Larne Harbour. Visibility usually 3–6m.

George

(GPS 54 51.052N 05 47.355W)

Description:The brigantine George of Workington had been built in 1796 at Aberystwyth and ended her career on the rocks between Ballylumford Harbour and the present lighthouse on Ferris Point on the 20th December 1876. She is lying in 5m of water and is badly broken up. This is an easy shore dive to access from a small slipway north of the harbour. She should only be dived when ferries are not operating and divers should not go any deeper than 7m or stray into the main channel. Be aware that the engine noise from ships entering Larne harbour can be quite frightening if you are not used to it. Visibility usually 3–6m.

Ferric

(GPS 54 52.502N 05 49.185W)

Description: The steamer Ferric which was owned by H.J. Scott was en route from Ayr to Larne with coal in January 1905. She battled a southeasterly gale all the way across the channel but failed to get into Larne and ended up on the rocks at the Black Arch, North of Larne. Her entire crew landed safely but the Ferric was a total loss. She is very badly broken up and lying in 3–8m of water. She is rarely dived and little has been recovered from her. She can be dived at any state of the tide but avoid springs. Visibility 5–10m in the kelp.

Rose II

(GPS 54 44.307N 05 38.756W)

Description: The Rose II was an armed trawler of 100 tons which would appear to have struck a mine and sank in Belfast Lough during WW I. She is sitting upright on the sea bed at 26m, 21m to the bridge. Lying in an eastwest direction with her entire bow blown off. This is an excellent wreck for divers to gain experience on. However, there are some unexploded spigot mortars lying around – DO NOT TOUCH. There are plenty of Scallops to lift instead (legal in Northern Ireland!). Visibility 5-–15m. Launching at Whitehead 2 hours before or after low water Belfast and from Bangor at any time.

Karanan

(GPS 54 42.805N 05 31.768W)

Description: The Dutch coaster Karanan (395 tons) was en route from Liverpool to Belfast with a general cargo of foodstuffs, batteries, copper piping, anti aircraft gun parts, etc. When she collided with the steam tanker ‘British Engineer’. Her starboard side was stove in and she quickly sank with two of her crew being lost. She is lying in a west-east direction on her port side, with extensive damage to the starboard side just forward from the bridge. At 34m to the highest part and 43m to the seabed she is a very advanced dive. The strong tides mean that she can only be dived at slack water. Best dived half an hour before high water Belfast. Visibility can be up to 20m – average 6–10m. There are quite a few port holes left. Launching from Whitehead 2 hours before or 2 hours after low water Belfast, or from Bangor and Carrickfergus at any time.

Teanua

(GPS 54 49.691N 05 45.754W)

Description: The Teanua an elderly schooner sank in 1976 while at anchor at Ballydown in Larne Lough. She can be dived at any state of the tide, however visibility is poor as the sea bed is mud. The only consolations are the lobsters living in the nooks and crannies. She almost breaks the surface at low tide and the sea bed in only 5m. Launching from Ballylumford, or from the shore at Ballydown, Islandmagee.

Berbice

(GPS 54 51.221N 05 46.187W)

Description: The four masted square rigger Berbice enroute from Greenock to Havana with coal was swept into Browns Bay on 1st January 1827 and broke up several days later. Her exact location is not confirmed however a large anchor located on the south west side of the bay would indicate that this is the final resting place of the Berbice. The site can be accessed from the shore. Little is left of the wreck which lies in 3–8m of water however you may be lucky as it is very rarely dived. Visibility is usually 5–10m.

Cannons

(GPS 54 50.424N 05 46.903W)

Description: Three sixteenth century bronze cannons were found a few years ago in an ancient anchorage in Larne Lough. The cannons were cast by a London foundry called Owens and were dated 1559, the inscription read “ELYSABETH REGYNA Thomas and John Owyn Made Thys Pese Anno DNI 1559”. There is no known record of any HM Ships entering Larne Lough in a damaged state. It is known however, that around the end of the sixteenth century when there was a fear of a Scottish invasion, merchant ships landed armaments round the coast of Northern Ireland. It is possible that these cannons were lost accidentally. This site has been rarely dived after the discovery of an antisubmarine rocket in the diving area. These cannons can now be inspected in the White Tower of London.

Woods

( GPS 54 50.773N 05 42.786W)

Description: The brig Woods was wrecked on the southeastern point of Muck Island during hard gales in early March 1827. Remains located so far are anchor chains lying in 24m of water to the southeast of the island. She is rarely dived and no doubt more will be re-discovered in the near future. There are plenty of scallops off the east side of the island and it is an excellent area for crab and octopus. She can only be dived at slack water, i.e. 1hour before high or low water at Belfast. Visibility 5–18m. Launching from Portmuck at high tide or Ballylumford, Islandmagee.

Ulrica

(GPS 54 41.750N 05 31.660W)

Description: The large four masted iron square rigged ship ‘Ulrica’ lay hove-to off Dublin Bay in a refreshing southeasterly wind on 6th January 1897 at the end of a 137 day passage from San Francisco. She once sailed 370 miles in one day on a voyage to Australia. As darkness fell the ship was blown northwards by the increasing gale. Captain John Johnston could do nothing but to steer for shelter of Belfast Lough. At 4.30 am she grounded on Old Lighthouse Island and became a total loss. Her entire crew of 28 were saved. She is badly broken up and lying in 10m of water on the north westside of Old Lighthouse Island. She is an excellent dive for the beginner and there are plenty of scallops in the area. Can be dived at nearly all states of the tide. Visibility can be 10–15m. Launching from Bangor, Donaghadee or Whitehead.

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