The Alkimos Shipwreck, Yanchep, Western Australia

Elaine Teague


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© Copyright Elaine Teague all rights reserved.

I took this photo with a film camera in the late 70’s whilst on a trip out in the ocean to see this shipwreck. Scanned and edited in PS with added texture from Brenda Starr
The wreck is now at the point where only the engine block is visible from the beach.

“The ship was built as part of the United States’ Liberty ship program during World War II. It was launched in Baltimore in 1943 and was originally scheduled to be named George M. Shriver. The ship was instead christened Viggo Hansteen and saw war service for about 18 months. After the war it was sold to a Greek shipping company and renamed Alkimos (Greek for “strong”; also the father of Mentor).

As Alkimos, the ship plied the world’s oceans for some two decades. In March 1963, the vessel was on a voyage from Jakarta to Bunbury when it struck a reef off the Western Australian coast. It was salvaged and towed to Fremantle, the port city for Perth, where it underwent repairs for two months. After settlement of a dispute concerning payment for the repairs, the Alkimos left Fremantle under tow by an ocean-going tug from Hong Kong.

Only a few hours out of port, the tow line gave way and the Alkimos was driven onto the shore. Although the ship remained intact, it could not be floated off at that time, and so it was filled with water to secure it in place and left in the charge of an on-board caretaker. Another tug returned in January 1964 and the ship was refloated, but the planned journey to Manila had hardly begun when the tug was seized at sea by authorities and the Alkimos was left anchored. In May 1964, the vessel broke anchor and was driven onto the Eglinton Rocks near present-day Yanchep. On this occasion it was more severely damaged, and all thought of salvaging it intact was abandoned. It was sold by the owners for the purposes of scrapping. However, even that outcome was thwarted when, in 1969,a salvage worker said he heard ghostly noises when he was going to sleep and salvage workers were driven off the wreck by an unexplained fire, and since that time the partly dismantled remains of the ship have been left standing in several metres of water very visible to visitors to the location."

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