World’s Largest Ship Graveyard

Monday, 16th February 2009 by

As a follow-up to our recent story about the largest ship graveyard in the Western hemisphere, today we’re visiting Mauritania, where we find the world’s largest ship graveyard!

The port of Nouadhibou is the final resting place of over 300 ships. Unlike the en masse arrival of ships at Mallows Bay, here the number of craft has built up over time, as corrupt officials accepted bribes from boat owners to allow them to dump their vessels in the area1.

The ships are everywhere! Some are rusting on the beaches, some are overturned just metres from local fishing boats, and even more are anchored in deeper waters, either alone or tied together in rafts of up to 9 ships.

Ships Ship

There are so many abandoned ships that you have to wonder how the local fishing fleet and commercial vessels navigate safely when leaving the port.2

Fishing Boats Commercial Ships

In an effort to clean up the local environment, several solutions have been put forward for consideration. Of these suggestions, towing the ships to other locations would seem to be just a matter of moving the problem, and blowing them up surely can’t be the best way to improve things!

There’s a set of pictures that has circulated amongst many blogs, but Artificial Owl has a different set, while has some good images and information.

Thanks to Christoph.

  1. Often for the purpose of making fake insurance claims. 

  2. On the other hand, surfers actually like the wrecks as they make for rather interesting scenery.