Shipwrecks

Explore Shipwrecks from Civil War through World War II

USS New Jersey (BB-16) at Boston, Massachusetts, May 3, 1919

North Carolina Shipwrecks

North Carolina's Outer Banks is one of the most unique places in the world. These waters have entombed thousands of vessels and countless mariners who lost a desperate struggle against the forces of war, piracy and nature. The rich maritime heritage of coastal North Carolina runs deep with a vast array of shipwrecks. While the area is well known for shipwrecks dating from the Age of North American exploration to present day, the most prominent collection of shipwrecks and time period represented is from World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. This area off North Carolina's coast is where the war came home to the continental United States.

Since 2008, NOAA and its partners have worked to document these shipwrecks. Click on the links below and learn more about each ship.

To learn more about how NOAA works to preserve our nation’s maritime heritage, download the free curriculum guide Maritime Archaeology: Discovering and Exploring Shipwrecks

USS New Jersey (BB-16) at Boston, Massachusetts, May 3, 1919

World War I

June 2018 marked the start of the 100th anniversary of World War I off the North Carolina coast. To honor the anniversary and the men who fought and died during World War I off our shore, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary actively conducts research on World War I and the ships that sank off our coast. Visit our World War I webpage to learn the history, discover the shipwrecks, and visit often as new data and images are added. If you want to dive a little deeper, click here to read the full document, The Enemy in Home Waters—How World War I Came Home to North Carolina.

Download a free curriculum guide, World War I: Discovering and Exploring the Great War off the North Carolina Coast for students in grades 6-12.

Click here to request more information on these shipwrecks or future maritime heritage projects.

USS New Jersey (BB-16) at Boston, Massachusetts, May 3, 1919

World War II

From January through July of 1942, German U-boats sank ships off the American east coast with relative impunity. This American Theatre of World War II was the closest area of conflict to the continental United States. This complex naval battlefield stretched from New England into the Gulf of Mexico, but the area off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, emerged as a strategic hotspot for this activity and the resulting concentration of shipwrecks is unparalleled in the nation. In just three years, from 1942 to 1945, 90 ships were lost off North Carolina alone as a result of this action. The result is an amazing collection of 78 merchant tankers and freighters, eight Allied warships, and four German U-boats resting on the seabed as a memorial to this history and to the sacrifice of Allied servicemen and the U.S. Merchant Marine in World War II. Explore each shipwreck to learn more about World War II off the North Carolina Coast.

Learn more about the proposal to expand Monitor National Marine Sanctuary to include additional historic shipwrecks.

Download a free curriculum guide, Battle of the Atlantic: Discovering and Exploring When the War Came Home, for students in grades 6-12.

WWI and WWII off the Coast of North Carolina

Dive slate for the 701

Dive Slates

Dive slates include the wreck's location, historic vessel information, a site plan identifying the wreck's construction features and the marine life most commonly seen at the site.

Site Plans for Caribsea

Site Plans

Site plans are archaeological drawings created from data collected during an expedition to a shipwreck site.

Shipwrecks

Below are some of the various shipwrecks NOAA and its partners have surveyed. Enjoy exploring and check back often as new ships are added.

Civil War (1862)

USS Monitor

The Union's first Civil War ironclad lost in a gale on December 31, 1862.

World War I (1918)

Light Vessel (LV-71)

Lightship sunk by U-140 on August 6, 1918, during World War I.

Merak

1910 tanker sunk by U-140 on August 6, 1918.

USS Schurz

U.S. Navy Gunboat sunk on June 21, 1918, when it collided with SS Florida

Post World War I (1923 - 1929)

1923

USS New Jersey

U.S. Navy Virginia-class battleship sunk on September 5, 1923, during aerial bombing tests

1923

USS Virginia

The USS Virginia, the lead ship of its class, participated in the Great White Fleet's around-the-world cruise from 1907 to 1909.

1927

Kyzikes

1900 oil tanker lost on December 1, 1927, during a heavy gale and used for target practice in 1929 by U.S. Army.

1929

Carl Gerhard

1923 freighter owned by a Swedish Company that ran aground and sunk on September 23, 1929.

World War II (1942 - 1943)

Merchant Ships

Allan Jackson

1921 tanker sunk by U-66 on January 18, 1942.

Ario

1920 tanker sunk by U-158 on March 15, 1942.

Ashkhabad

1917 tanker sunk by U-402 on April 30, 1942.

Atlas

1916 tanker sunk by U-552 on April 9, 1942.

Australia

1928 tanker sunk by U-332 on March 16, 1942.

Bluefields

1917 cargo ship owned by Nicaragua and sunk by U-576 on July 15, 1942.

British Splendour

1931 tanker sunk by U-552 on April 7, 1942.

Buarque

1919 freighter sunk by U-432 on February 15, 1942.

Byron D. Benson

1922 tanker sunk by U-552 on April 5, 1942.

Caribsea

1919 freighter sunk by U-158 on March 11, 1942.

City of Atlanta

1905 steam merchant ship sunk by U-123 on January 19, 1942.

Dixie Arrow

1921 oil tanker sunk by U-71 on March 26, 1942.

E.M. Clark, location unknown, dated September 19, 1941

E.M. Clark

1921 oil tanker sunk by U-124 on March 18, 1942.

U.S. Coast Guard identification photograph of Empire Gem

Empire Gem

1941 oil tanker sunk by U-66 on January 24, 1942.

When Empire Thrush operated as Lorain near a bridge

Empire Thrush

1919 cargo ship sunk by U-203 on April 14, 1942.

Esso Nashville</i> following repairs from the attack by U-124

Esso Nashville

1940 tanker sunk by U-124 on March 21, 1942.

Equipoise, location unknown, dated January 6, 1942

Equipoise

1906 cargo ship sunk by U-160 on March 27, 1942

The damaged and sinking tanker F.W. Abrams

F.W. Abrams

1920 oil tanker sunk by a mine on June 15, 1942.

Kassandra in port

Kassandra Louloudis

1918 steam merchant ship sunk by U-124 on March 18, 1942.

Lancing in 1942, port side profile view

Lancing

1897 cargo ship sunk by U-552 on April 7, 1942.

The liberator

Liberator

1918 cargo ship sunk by U-332 on March 19, 1942.

Malchace in port at Boston, massachusetts

Malchace

1920 cargo ship sunk by U-160 on April 9, 1942.

Manuela, January 22, 1942, location unknown out in the sea

Manuela

1934 freighter sunk by U-404 on June 25, 1942.

Marore in port, date and location unknown

Marore

1922 freighter sunk by U-432 on February 27, 1942.

Naeco in an unkown location, August 8, 1941

Naeco

1918 tanker sunk by U-124 on March 23, 1942.

Norvana under its former name of York by the port

Norvana

1920 freighter sunk by U-66 or U-123 on January 22, 1942.

Panam, location unknown, dated August 29, 1941

Panam

1925 tanker sunk by U-129 on May 4, 1943.

Papoose, dated April 19, 1941, location unknown

Papoose

1921 tanker sunk by U-124 on March 19, 1942.

Starboard side of San Cirilo, the sister ship of San Delfino, date and location unknown.

San Delfino

1938 tanker sunk by U-203 on April 9, 1942.

Suloide, date and location unknown

Suloide

1920 cargo ship sunk due to collision on March 26, 1943.

Steering quadrant of Tamaulipas

Tamaulipas

1919 tanker sunk by U-552 on April 10, 1942.

Refitted and renamed ore vessel, Venore, date and location unknown.

Venore

1921 freighter sunk by U-66 on January 24, 1942.

W. E. Hutton dated January 13, 1942

W.E. Hutton

1920 oil tanker sunk by U-124 on March 19, 1942.

William Rockefeller docked

William Rockefeller

1921 tanker sunk by U-701 on June 28, 1942.


Allied Ships

USS Cythera prior to conversion at the Philadephia Navy Yard, dated January 12, 1942

USS Cythera

USS Cythera sunk by U-402 on May 2, 1942.

HMS Senateur Duhamel, location unknown.

HMS Senateur Duhamel

Converted 1927 French fishing trawler sunk in a colllision with USS Semmes on May 6, 1942.

Port side view of HMT Bedfordshire, post conversion

HMT Bedfordshire

Converted 1935 British fishing trawler sunk by U-558 on May 12, 1942.

Fishing trawler Cohassett prior to its conversion into the YP-389.

USS YP-389

U.S. Navy Yard Patrol boat YP-389 sunk by U-701 on June 19, 1942.

Underwater photo of Keshena.

Keshena

U.S. Navy Tug Keshena sunk by a mine on July 19, 1942.

HMS Senateur Duhamel, location unknown.

USCGC Bedloe

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter sunk by the Great Atlantic Hurricane on September 14, 1944

USCGC Jackson WSC-142, date and location unknown.

USCGC Jackson

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter sunk by the Great Atlantic Hurricane on September 14, 1944

USS Tarpon on September 24, 1942, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, at the conclusion of an overhaul. Circles mark recent alterations to the ship.

USS Tarpon (SS-175)

U.S. Navy submarine that served during World War II and sank in 1956.


German U-Boats

USS Roper at sea

U-85

German U-boat sunk by USS Roper on April 14, 1942.

Watercolor of U-352 at sea

U-352

German U-boat sunk by USS Icarus on May 9, 1942.

576 sonar image

U-576

German U-boat sunk on July 15, 1942, and discovered by NOAA in 2014.

Exposed stern section of U-701

U-701

German U-boat sunk by Lt. Kane, U.S. Army Bomb. Sqdn. on July 7, 1942.