6 famous shipwrecks still lost at sea

Submerged in the sea, or still sailing? We may never know.


Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust

On March 9, researchers solved a 106-year mystery by locating the final resting place of Ernest Shackelton’s famous ship, Endurance.

But Endurance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lost shipwrecks.

Sunken vessels once sailed by famous explorers, traders, and military personnel have been the subject of attention for hundreds of years. Many are still missing.

Hohum via Wikimedia Commons / State Library of Queensland (original image)


Here are 6 famous shipwrecks still lost at sea:

6. HMS Endeavour

Captain James Cook sailed from Britain to Australia in this ship in 1770. It was later used to transport British troops during the Revolutionary War, and sank in 1778.

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In February, the Australian National Maritime Museum announced that a wreck off the coast of Rhode Island was that of the famed ship.

However, the Rhode Island Maritime Archaeology Project claimed there were still “many unanswered questions” surrounding the discovery, leaving its authenticity up in the air.

5. Santa Maria

Christopher Columbus’ largest ship crashed off the coast of Haiti in 1492, just months after leaving Spain.


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In 2014, an undersea explorer claimed to have found the wreck.

However, UNESCO ultimately determined that the remains belonged to a ship built several centuries after the Santa Maria sank.

4. USS Cyclops

In 1918, this U.S. Navy ship was returning to Baltimore from Brazil and mysteriously vanished.

United States Naval History and Heritage Command photograph, Photo #: NH 55549

United States Naval History and Heritage Command photograph, Photo #: NH 55549

The entire crew went missing, too.

No one knows what happened to the vessel or its personnel. But given that the ship vanished during wartime, some thought it had been shot down by a German submarine.

3. U-Boats

German submarines called U-boats were used to attack enemy vessels during WWI and WWII. Many went missing or sank during the course of both wars.

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While remains of many U-boats have been recovered and preserved, there are still dozens lurking at the bottom of the ocean.

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2. Le Griffon

The uneasy waters of the Great Lakes have claimed their fair share of ships as well. In 1679, French explorers set out to discover the northwest passage aboard the ship Le Griffon.

Father Louis Hennepin via Wikimedia Commons

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It vanished near Green Bay, Wisconsin while returning from its maiden voyage.

In 2021, a group of undersea explorers claimed to have found the ship, but outside researchers were unable to confirm the finding.

1. SS Baychimo

This cargo ship became lodged in ice off the northwest coast of Alaska in 1931, leading the crew to abandon the vessel. Baychimo eventually vanished, and the crew believed it sank.

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But sightings of the ship, still afloat and intact, were reported by multiple people until 1969.

Today, it’s unclear if the ghost ship is still at sea — or if it eventually met a watery fate.

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