Wreck of the Meisho Maru No. 38 – Suiderstrand, South Africa - Atlas Obscura

Wreck of the Meisho Maru No. 38

Suiderstrand, South Africa

All that remains of a Japanese fishing vessel that ran aground in 1982. 


Head down around the southernmost spot on the African continent, and you’ll find an atmospheric shipwreck waiting just off the shore. The surviving fragment of the doomed vessel rusts atop the rocks, where it’s constantly battered by the wind and waves.

The Meisho Maru No. 38 was a small Japanese fishing vessel that, like so many others, prowled the seas to reap its bounty. This part of South Africa’s coast is notoriously dangerous, causing many ships to succumb to its wrath.

The Meisho Maru No. 38 met its end on November 16, 1982. A storm caused it to run aground. Fortunately, because it sank so close to shore, all 17 members of its crew were able to swim to safety, leaving the ship as the only casualty.

After spending decades being beaten by the elements, the wrecked vessel finally broke apart. For now, its prow still rests in place, though it’s likely the sea may one day claim that as well. If you’re in the area and like shipwrecks, you’ll want to be sure to see it before it’s gone.

Know Before You Go

From the "southernmost tip of Africa," it is a short 20-mins walk to the wreck.

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