Ship Stats

Location: 36°06'52.7"N, 75°40'06.0"W (36.06464, -75.66833)

Depth: 20 feet

Vessel Type: Tanker

Length: 292 feet Breadth: 42 feet

Gross Tonnage: 2,627 Cargo: Crude Oil

Built: 1900, American Shipbuilding Co., A.B. Wolvin

Hull Number: 303 Port of Registry: Baltimore, Md.

Owner: Costi and Michael Xydia, Peter Paramythiotis

Lloyd's Register Details: N/A

Former Name: Paraguay

Date Lost: December 1, 1927

Sunk By: Ran aground Survivors: 16 of 20 survived (4 dead)

Data Collected on Site: Side scan sonar data

Significance: Casualty of a heavy gale in 1927; used as target practice in 1929 by the U.S. Army Keystone bombers

Wreck Site

Kyzikes was cut in two when it was rammed by the vessel Carl Gerhard in 1929. It lies at Kill Devil Hills (mile post 7) about 200 yards offshore in 20 feet of water, near Carl Gerhard in what is known as the Triangle Wrecks.

At low tide, the surface of the water is within inches of the top of the stern section. Most easily distinguishable is the huge quadruple expansion engine. Also visible are the two boilers. Sand continuously covers and uncovers this site depending on the season and the intensity of storms.

Sonar images of Kyzikes and Carl Gerhard. Photo: Courtesy of UNC Coastal Studies Institute

Historical Background

Built and designed in Lorain, Ohio, by A.B. Wolvin for ocean coastal trade, Paraguay was completed in 1900. Intended to carry coal or ore, just two years later, the Pew family and the Sun Oil Company purchased the ship and converted the vessel to an oil carrier. The ship went through several modifications over the years. In late August 1927, the vessel was purchased and renamed Kyzikes.

In early December 1927, Kyzikes was bound for Spain from Baltimore with a cargo of crude oil when it was caught in the path of a heavy gale. In an attempt to avoid the storm, the captain ventured south to eventually turn east toward Europe. However, the ship took on water and the boiler tubes burst, disabling the vessel. The ship drifted southward after losing power and began taking on water into a ruptured hull. By morning, Kyzikes had run onto a shoal off Kill Devil Hills, N.C. The vessel broke in two and was a total loss. Four of the crew members were lost. A large rescue operation to save the crew still trapped on board followed shortly with over 23 men from Kill Devil Hills, N.C., and surrounding lifesaving stations participating. The remaining crew was successfully rescued and within a few days returned to Baltimore, Md.

Two years later following the grounding, the United States Army used the wrecked vessel for target practice. In 1929, six Keystone bombers practiced bombing from varying heights, successfully completing testing runs. Also in that year, the vessel Carl Gerhard managed to run aground at the very same spot. Carl Gerhard went through Kyzikes, adding to the breakup of the vessel. Subsequent storms and salvage have reduced the remains to below the water line.