The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
Shipwrecks in Stanley Falkland Islands

WRECKS STANLEY Falkland Islands

Stanley harbour is the greatest graveyard of 19th century sailing ships in the world. Here lie the remains of around 20 ships that, unable to survive the storms of Cape Horn, struggled back to the safety a sheltered harbour. Many did not make it, one can only guess at how many went down and lives were lost as any sea vessel that could float headed for the gold boom of Australia and California and came to grief rounding 'The Horn'. Others were repaired here to face the onward journey or were exploited by the thriving 'wrecking trade'. Many are known to have wrecked all around the Falklands coast. Stanley's wrecks were often condemned, the price of repairs too high so owners cut their losses and sold them where they stood. These are just a few that became well known in Stanley. The Fennia has now gone from the harbour. The Great Britain has been taken home to Bristol.

Actaeon 1853

The Actaeon , a British 561 ton, 3 masted barque lies in the mud on the inboard side of the Charles Cooper. Captained by a Captain Robertson she sailed from Liverpool bound for San Francisco with an cargo of 800 tons of coal, she could not round Cape Horn having suffered a bad gale. Damaged and leaking she was forced to put back to the Falklands for repairs arriving at Stanley on the 27th January 1853. As so often happened she was condemned and sold. She was purchased by J.M. Dean and scuttled filled with ballast and a jetty was built connection to her, the old West Jetty. The old West jetty disintegrated in the 1970's leaving the wrecks exposed to the weather and Actaeon has all but disappeared.

  • afterglow-boiler


Built in 1918, Afterglow arrived in the Falkland Islands in the early 1920's to be used as an armed patrol vessel to deter seal poachers. From 1922-1926 she was used for the inter-insular mail service. In 1931 she was bought by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Sealing Company, ironically to work in sealing. During the World War she was requisitioned by the Admiralty as a tender. She lies in front of the Market Garden, close to FIPASS, mostly only her boiler is visible now.

  • Capricorn2

Capricorn condemned in 1882

Capricorn was built at Bideford Devon in 1859, a little barque of 380 tons. She sailed from Swansea laden with coal for Santiago, Chile in late 1881.She hit very rough weather off Cape Horn in February 1882 and her cargo of coal was found to be burning. The master sailed her to the shelter of Staten Island where in shallow water she was scuttled to put out the fire. She was then pumped out and re-floated.

Too damaged to tackle Cape Horn the master was obliged to take her to the Falklands for repairs. Capricorn was soon declared unseaworthy and condemned.  She was bought by Messrs. Dean and served as a storage hulk floating in the harbour until 1942 when she was taken a little east of the Falkland Islands Air Service hanger and scuttled for the second time. For a time she formed the head of a jetty for troops stationed in the islands during the Second World War. Today a little of her can still be seen.

  • Charles-Cooper

Charles Cooper 1866

Charles Cooper was built and launched in 1856 by William Hall of Black Rock Connecticut, U. S. A., an oak wood ship of 850 tons, 165 feet long, finished with a beautiful almost 32 feet carved wooden transom stern, depicting shields, drapery and foliage. She was capable of carrying over 250 passengers and 3,500 barrels of cargo and was an American ‘packet ship’ (a ship running to a regular, scheduled service carrying mail, freight and passengers), the last to sail out of South Street, New York, where for her initial two years she plied between New York and Antwerp, carrying westbound emigrants to the New World and various provisions.

Eastwards she took general cargo such as cotton, tobacco and mahogany.  On 1st June 1866 she left Philadelphia laden with coal and bound for San Francisco via Cape Horn. She began to leak on the voyage and was forced to put in to Stanley for repairs, arriving there of 25th September 1866.  The cost however, proved far too high and she was condemned, sold J.M. Dean & Co. and later taken over by the Falkland Island Company to lie alongside the Actaeon at the jetty opposite the Falkland Islands Company’s West store as a storage hulk. In 1968 she was bought by South Street Seaport Museum New York with the intention of taking her home but when it became apparent that this would not be viable she was given into the care of the Falklands Museum.The old West jetty disintegrated in the 1970's leaving the wrecks exposed to the weather and Actaeon has all but disappeared.



  • fenia
  • fenia
    Fenia, damaged by a hurricane, was towed into Stanley by the Samson in 1927. She was a familar hulk in Stanley harbour for forty years, until 1967 when she was towed away supposedly for restoration but due to lack of finance was scuppered in Montevideo for scrap.


Fennia 1927

Fennia was built at Nantes, France in 1902 as the Champigny, a four masted steel barque of some 3,200 tons, 312 feet long with a 45 feet beam and an unusually long poopdeck. Until 1927 she sailed  as the Champigny under the French flag but was then sold to  a Finnish organisation ‘Aktiebolaget Finska Skolskeppsrederiet Helsingfors’ as a cadet training vessel, the cadets being accommodated and tutored on the huge poopdeck while using her for routine cargo carrying voyages. Thus she was employed when she fell foul of severe weather off Cape Horn and was forced to put back to the Falklands with her rigging in tatters. She made it to the lee of Cape Pembroke and on 9th May 1927 was towed into Stanley harbour to be condemned. For 40 years she was a familiar sight at her moorings in the harbour where she served as a wool store. During the Second World War she accommodated German prisoners and internees. In 1967 Fennia was purchased by San Francisco Maritime Museum for restoration and towed out of Stanley by a Dutch tug. Sadly she never got further than Montevideo, Uruguay before the project was abandoned and she was scrapped.

  • Golden-Chance

Golden Chance

Golden Chance was built as a steam drifter and launched at Lowestoft in 1914. She was 84ft long and almost 90 tons. In 1949 she was purchased by the Colonial Development Corporation for use in the unsuccessful South Atlantic Sealing Company based at Albermale station, West Falklands. She lies beached at the Canache at the east end of Stanley harbour.

  • Jhelum
  • jhelum2
  • Jhelum
    Overloaded, Jhelum encountered gales and stormy seas rounding ‘The Horn’. Part of the unstable cargo was damaged and on 18th August 1870 she struggled into Stanley leaking and unsafe. Her crew refused to put to sea in her again and she was condemned and scuttled.

Jhelum- Stanley August 1870

Jhelum, an East Indiaman type 428 ton wooden barque, was built in Liverpool by Joseph  Steele and Sons, and launched on 24th May 1849 She was 123 feet long with a 27 ft beam and built to a high standard with much mahogany,  copper fastenings and treenailed beneath her waterline. After her maiden voyage to Bombay that year Jhelum mainly plied between South America and Europe, taking south general cargoes of all types of commodities, and returning with copper, nitrates or guano (accumulated  dropping of seabirds) for the agricultural improvements in Europe where the  benefits of guano on the land had caused a ‘boom’ in its transport. Guano was mainly loaded in Peru or Chile.

The fact that Jhelum stood up to these noxious and corrosive cargoes for many years is a tribute to her sound construction.On July 26th 1869commanded by Captain Beaglholm, Jhelum left Cardiff laden with coal for Montevideo. After an unhappy voyage with a discontented crew she finally was loaded with guano and left Callao for the northbound voyage to Dunkirk, the crew still complaining of her unseaworthiness. Overloaded, she encountered gales and stormy seas rounding ‘The Horn’. Part of the unstable cargo was damaged and on 18th August 1870 she struggled into Stanley leaking and unsafe. Her crew refused to put to sea in her again and she was condemned and scuttled. In 1871 she was converted into a storage hulk for the Packe Brothers at the head of Packe’s jetty. For well over hundred years she lay mostly intact. Attempts were made in the 1980’s and 90’s to shore up her old frame and stabilise her but her timbers became infected by marine boring molluscs and she became weakened. On 18th October 2008 a gale and high tide broke her in half, the bow section and the timbers washing away leaving just her stern intact.
  • Lady-Elizabeth

Lady Elizabeth wrecked 1913

The Lady Elizabeth was launched on 4 June 1879, an iron barque of 1,155 tons, a 3 masted barque rig. She was 67.97 metres (223.0 ft) long with 67.97m (35.0 ft) beam and was 6.52m (21ft 5in) depth. She needed a crew of between 18 and 25 men.
On 4 December 1912, the Lady Elizabeth having being purchased by the Norwegian company ‘Skibasaktieselskabet’ in 1906 for £3,250, left Vancouver  for  Delagoa Bay, Mozambique laden with lumber, commanded by Captain Petersen. 300 miles southwest of Cape Horn she hit severe gales, lost her deck cargo, and four crew washed overboard. Heading into the shelter of Berkeley Sound on 12 May 1913 she struck the Uranie Rock and was badly damaged, holed, and lost a section of keel. The ‘Samson’, the Falkland’s tug, who was later to rest alongside her in Whalebone Cove, towed her into Stanley.

It was decided that her damage would be uneconomical to repair and Lady Elizabeth was condemned and sold to the Falkland Islands Company, along with her cargo of Oregon pine. She lay a few years at the East Jetty serving as a timber warehouse, then was moored in Stanley harbour as a storage hulk for twenty years. In 1936 a gale caused her to break her moorings and she drifted Whalebone Cove where she was put ashore on the sandy beach and remains today, a distinctive landmark and reminder of a maritime past.

Margaret 1850

Margaret arrived leaking and in need of repair in Stanley on 11th August 1950. She was a British built 615 ton barque commanded by Captain D Till, and had left Liverpool bound for Valparaiso badly overloaded with coal and cannonballs. After two months of attempting to round Cape Horn Captain Till decided to put back to Stanley for repairs. As so often happened she was surveyed and condemned but remained floating in the harbour for some years, occasionally being useful transporting coal but by 1879 she was deemed unsafe, deteriorating and costly to keep pumped out so was sold to the Colonial Government as the foundation for a new jetty at the dockyard. Her hull lies below that jetty still and glimpses of her may be seen at low tide.

  • Plym


Plym came to the Falkland Islands in February 1904, deck cargo on the SS INCA. She was a steam-tug for many years but in 1929 was converted to a lighter. In 1945 she broke her moorings in a terrible and damaging gale to wash up on the beach where she now lies, close to the 'Lady Elizabeth' in Whalebone Cove.


Samson, a 94ft steam tug was built in Hull in 1888. After The City of Philadelphia disaster in 1896, mariners complained that lives might have been saved with a powerful tug. The Falkland Islands Company responded by bringing the Samson to the islands in 1900. In 1912 she proved her worth when the P.S.N.C liner Oravia struck the Billy Rock in wild seas. Captain Thomas took little Samson alongside her to rescue 150 passengers. In 1910 the Samson towed the large barque Wavertree of 2100 tons which was drifting damaged close to Cape Pembroke lighthouse, safely into Stanley.

Samson now lies close to Lady Elizabeth in Whalebone Cove. Lady Elizabeth herself had been rescued by Samson in 1913 when she struck and was holed on the Uranie Rock and was towed into Stanley.

Sources include: Colonial Reports. Condemned at Stanley- John Smith 1969 Wikipedia website,www.boatregister, The Falkland Islands Journal, The Falkland Islands- Ian J Strange, Jane Cameron nationalarchives/shipping casualties wrecks, A Historical Scrapbook of Stanley- John Smith

Photographic credits: Stanley Harbour/ archives, Robert Maddocks, Jean Sinclair
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