Divers swim past heaps of metal from a shipwreck
Two divers swim over the remains of the shipwreck Nordmeer

Vessel Type: Motor: steel ocean general cargo freighter

GPS Location: N45° 08.161' W83° 09.586'

Depth: 40 feet

Wreck Length: 471 feet

Beam: 60 feet

Gross Tonnage: 8,683

Cargo: Rolled steel

Launched: 1954 by Flensburger Schiffs Gesellshaft at Flensburg, Germany

Wrecked: November 19, 1966

Mooring Buoy Data

Description: On Saturday night, November 19, 1966, Nordmeer was traveling to Chicago from Hamburg, Germany, with a cargo of 990 coils of steel destined for Milwaukee. It was the ocean-going vessel’s first freshwater voyage. The night was clear. About seven miles north of Thunder Bay Island, the “salty” turned inside the flashing buoy marking Thunder Bay Shoal. With a shudder, its steel hull bumped to a stop, caught by the unforgiving rocks. Within seconds, all five of the cargo holds and the engine room flooded. The ship quickly settled to the bottom. The captain and seven crew members remained on the Nordmeer to supervise salvage operations.

A week later, as the ship was battered by 50-mile-per-hour winds and 22-foot waves, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter team pulled the crew from the sinking ship. Area divers salvaged the valuable cargo and removed the fuel from the deteriorating ship. Much of Nordmeer remained above water for decades before waves and ice finally ripped the steel ship apart. A red and white vent seen in the riverside park in downtown Alpena is one of many pieces salvaged from Nordmeer. More artifacts can be viewed at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Today the Nordmeer is protected, and artifacts can no longer be removed from the wreck, which is a popular dive site.

Divers swim around a shipwreck
Two divers swim around the remains of the shipwreck Nordmeer
A diver photographs the hull of a shipwreck
A diver takes a photograph of the name of Nordmeer along the hull
A diver swims through an opening in a shipwreck
A diver swims through remains of the shipwreck Nordmeer
Two divers swim around the bow of a shipwreck
Two divers inspect the shipwreck Nordmeer