The MS Discoverer still sits in the shallow waters of the Solomon Islands today, making it a unique beachside tourist attraction.
It’s not often you can spot a wreck above ground. Indeed, by definition, most shipwrecks are left at sea, forced to meet their fate at the bottom of the ocean. In the case of MS WorldDiscoverer, however, this liner tells a whole different story. Rather than perish at sea, the ship sank after running aground…and still sits where it is to this day.
On the isolated Solomon Islands, which many would later discover is surrounded by reefs, this ship sits sideways on a coastal beach. From above, it’s an eerie picture – but for those viewing the ship on the ground, it’s even more of an illusory scene.
How the MS WorldDiscoverer Finished in the Solomon Islands
Although it seems like ships rarely sink these days, the story of the MS WorldDiscoverer is one that is still quite recent as far as maritime history is concerned. The fateful voyage began in 2000 when the Solomon Islands would soon present a challenge no ship has yet to overcome. The danger of shallow-water coral reefs is something that is usually discovered on a ship’s radar, with the exception, at the time, of this Pacific cluster. The unexplored reefs would soon pose a problem for the ship, which would eventually fall victim to their merciless grip.
Prior to this, however, the liner had completed an 8,000 mile voyage which, at the time, seemed far more taxing than a trip to the islands of the South Pacific. Interestingly, the ship was built to withstand possible brushings by icebergs during her routine voyages to Antarctica. As the liner returned with a stopover in the South Pacific islands in April, it ran into one of these large unexplored reefs. The qualified captain, Oliver Kruess, was able to sail the damaged vessel into Roderick Bay. At this point the ship began to list and Roderick had no choice but to intentionally beach the ship, lest it slide permanently underwater. The result was the MS WorldDiscoverer Intentionally beached after the rescue of the crew, where it remains, has turned sideways to this day.
Efforts to recover the MS WorldDiscoverer
While the ship would have been in a decent enough position to be salvaged, all efforts on that front were wasted. Due to the ongoing civil war on the island at the time, no salvation efforts were successful. This, in combination with tidal changes and general wave wear, caused the ship to deteriorate further the longer the ship sat. It got to the point where the ship was considered a loss to the fleet, and it remains on the Solomon Islands to this day.
the MS WorldDiscoverer: A modern day tourist attraction
For the inhabitants of the Solomon Islands, the ship has become a kind of tourist attraction. It’s pretty easy to see from land but depending on Vaval, some companies also offer (unauthorized) tours of the interior of the ship. Obviously, these are very dangerous and it goes without saying that one ventures near this wreck at one’s own risk. However, just spotting this ship from the beach is an experience worthy of many. It’s not every day that a ship is wrecked on solid ground, let alone ground above sea level, and the fact that the ship is still intact is truly remarkable.
As the ship continues to deteriorate, it remains an attraction for visitors to the islands. The Solomon Islands remain one of the least visited destinations in the world, which makes the chance to witness this shipwreck above water all the more enticing for those who are particularly adventurous. Not only are the islands virtually untouched except for locals and some 30,000 people who visit each year, but their beauty is also unparalleled. As far as islands in the South Pacific go, the Solomon Islands has a lot to offer the intrepid tourist.
It is also a paradise for diving and snorkeling
Although this attraction happens to be above ground, the Solomon Islands in particular are a paradise for divers and snorkelers. With lots of reefs (like the MS WorldDiscoverer unfortunately discovered) and surrounding marine life, there will always be something new to see and explore in these waters. This liner is one of many dive sites, and visitors will be happy to know that adventure awaits at virtually any beach.
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