Wreck of the Transpacific


Sailors and divers are almost to a man fascinated by shipwrecks. We are both sailors and scuba divers and the wreck we found on Ile Aux Marins has a fascinating story behind it.

It seems that on May 18, 1971, the German flagged general cargo ship Transpacific of the Poseidon Shipping Line was caught fast on the shoals while trying to make landfall

Built at Lubeck, Germany, in 1954 she began trading to the Great Lakes when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to commercial traffic in 1959.

At the time of her loss Transpacific was outbound with 11 passengers and a cargo of general freight, that included aluminium, logs and as we found out juke boxes and ride on lawn mowers!

Making for St Pierre in thick fog the Captain radioed St. Pierre Harbour reporting trouble with bot Radar and the ships Decca Navigator. He requested that a technician be brought out when his ship reached the harbor anchorage

Despite the fog, local fishermen were at sea and were surprised and somewhat when Transpacific sliced past their dories though the fog, heading straight for the shoals off Ile Aux Marines.

They tried to warn her of the impending disaster but failed and were forced to look on helplessly as the ship piled onto the rocks.

The efforts of salvage tugs failed to tow the ship clear and after a final farewell dinner held aboard the Captain ordered the engines to be shut down and the vessel was abandoned.


That night the fishermen descending by the score became intent on looting the vessel’s cargo. Close to 70 island dories carried off cargo, furnishings and provisions.

The Captain returned with some of his crew the next day hoping to restart the engine and pump off fuel so as to prevent pollution and lighten the ship for renewed salvage efforts but the looting fishermen, keen to hang onto their illicit booty, saw him off and prevented his re-boarding.

Eventually local officials decided to burn off the on board stash of oil and set fire to the ship. She blazed and smouldered for 61 hours.

Lawsuits and legal battles followed while the relentless forces of the waves pounded the ship into many pieces few of which can now be identified.

We are grateful to Destination Canada, Air Canada and ship operators One Ocean Expeditions for kindly hosting us on this trip