1904 Storm Unveils Lost Japanese Coal Ship Near Australian Coast


  • The SS Nemesis, a coal transport vessel, vanished off the Australian coast in 1904 during a storm, along with 32 crew members.
  • In 2022, Subsea Professional Marine Services stumbled upon the missing shipwreck nearly 16 miles offshore and under about 525 feet of water.
  • The discovery near Port Kembla allowed the NSW Government to seek connections with relatives of the crew, aiming to bring closure to families, including those of three individuals buried in an unmarked grave.
  • Officials called for descendants of the SS Nemesis crew to come forward, anticipating closure for nearly 40 children who lost parents in the wreck.
  • Ed Korber, MD of Subsea Professional Marine Services, expressed honor in finding the wreck, while the marine group overcame challenges to provide footage confirming the identity of the Nemesis wreck.

Unraveling A 120-Year Maritime Mystery

After nearly 120 years lost at sea, undersea explorers make an unexpected discovery of the SS Nemesis, a coal transport vessel that vanished during a storm off the Australian coast in 1904 along with its 32 crew members, as reported by the New York Post.

Even though the vessel was nowhere to be found, the dead bodies of crew members and some fragments of the vessel’s wreckage washed ashore on Cronulla Beach, which lies close to Sydney some weeks following the storm hitting New South Wales. The loss resulted in a media storm and public interest, but the wreckage could never be found and continued to be a mystery.

However, the Subsea Professional Marine Services, a remote sensing major looking out at the ocean bed off the Sydney coast for the lost cargo in 2022, accidentally stumbled upon this missing shipwreck. The wreck was found untouched, nearly 16 miles offshore and under about 525 feet of water.

Resolution To A 120-Year Enigma

The 120-year-old mystery of SS Nemesis and its 32 crew members lost at sea was finally solved with the sudden discovery and identification of a shipwreck off Port Kembla. With this wreck now identified, the NSW Government is hoping to connect with the relatives of the crew members, including three individuals buried in an unmarked grave located in Woronora Memorial Park of Sutherland, stated the Minister for Environment and Heritage.

Officials also considered the wreckage to be the SS Nemesis. Still, they had to deploy specialized underwater imagery to confirm the highlighting features of the wreckage associated with the historical images and the coal freighter sketches. The vessel’s bow and stern got damaged significantly and rested on a sand plain upright. Specialists believed that the SS Nemesis began sinking so fast after being struck by a huge wave that the crew members had no time to deploy any lifeboats.

SS Nemesis Descendants Urged To Come Forward

Officials have also urged the families who lost their ancestors on the vessel to come forward. Nearly 40 children have lost parents in the wreck, and the discovery is expected to bring closure to the loved ones and families connected with the vessel who never got to know its fate, the NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe explained. Ed Husic, Australia’s science minister, applauded the discovery, which he is hoping will bring comfort to the descendants of 32 sailors who lost their lives on the SS Nemesis.

Each Australian should take the heart curiosity and persistence the researchers have demonstrated in the project, as they do in their works, Husic explained. Ed Korber, the MD of Subsea Professional Marine Services, said it was an honor to have found the wreck that will finally bring closure to the loved ones of the long-lost crew members. The marine and remote-operated vehicle group have navigated the challenges to get the first footage that has permitted Heritage NSW to confirm this is the Nemesis wreck.

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Source: marineinsight