There is nothing quite like the site of a deserted shipwreck.
All of them have their own story to tell, retired a long time ago, waiting to be taken by the water. One such wreck is the German cruiser MS World Discoverer.
Designed by the German shipbuilding company Schichau Unterweser, the MS World Discoverer was a famous cruise ship. Today, it is a giant wreck, floating peacefully above the waters of Roderick Bay in the Nggela Islands.
During construction, it carried the name BEWA Discoverer, and after completion in 1974, it was sold to Denmark’s BEWA Cruises. Just two years later, the ship was bought by Adventure Cruises Inc., who renamed it World Discoverer. Registered in Singapore, the ship entered a longstanding contract with Society Expeditions.
Under the leadership of captain Oliver Kruess, the vessel started conducting cruises around the Southern Hemisphere visiting places like Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, and the South Pacific Islands, as well as the Alaskan region, all the way to the Russian border.
The double-hull construction of the cruiser allowed the passengers, especially for journeys around the Antarctic polar regions, to observe the ice flow movements, providing them with protection from minor impacts. A small expedition team was responsible for answering any tourist questions about the regions and destinations that were visited. The team consisted of marine biologists, naturalists, geologists, and historians, who were involved in two to three shore expeditions each day, depending on the route.
The ship was fully equipped, with a small swimming pool, fitness center, lecture hall, library, observation lounge, and medical center with an active physician. Small dinghy boats were also available for the passengers so they could dock on various shorelines of particular areas and observe the local flora and fauna.
The entirety of the ship’s range was 8,100 miles, which allowed the Discoverer to take trips along the Northwest Passage and be the first boat to make that leap.
In 1987, the World Discoverer found itself, yet again, under new ownership and a new name. The company, called Discoverer Reederei, also owns other cruise ships, such as the MS Explorer, and in 1990 they relocated the Discoverer to Liberia. In 1996, the boat was remodeled and modernized entirely and got its old name back.
But in 2000, on Sunday, April 30, at 4 p.m. local time, just 11 days before its scheduled annual maintenance, the World Discoverer cruise ship hit an uncharted reef in the Sandfly Passage, Solomon Islands. Captain Kruess immediately sent a distress signal that was received by the city of Honiara, and to prevent the boat from sinking, he was forced to steer it into a beach in Roderick Bay, which proved to be the ship’s final resting place.
All 99 passengers that were on board were unharmed and were transported to safety by a passenger ferry. The ship couldn’t be saved, though, and remains there, tilted on its side, to this day. Salvage companies stationed in Australia tried to retrieve the ship, but they arrived too late because the cruiser was already ransacked for equipment by locals in the midst of the Solomon Islands civil war. Over the years, tidal activity at the bay caused further damage and rusting to the structure and the surface of the ship.
Today, it is a local tourist attraction, still standing in the same place, waiting to inevitably sink under the water. It can be seen on Google Maps.