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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/MV Treasure

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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay : MV Treasure
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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/MV Treasure

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The dive site M.V. Treasure is an offshore recent wreck in the Blaauwberg area on the Atlantic coast near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


Map of the wreck of the MV Treasure

This is a relatively intact wreck of a huge vessel. The sheer size is awesome.


S33°40.30’ E018°19.90’ (approximate)

This site is not in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is not required.


On June 23, 2000 the damaged Panamanian registered bulk ore carrier "MV Treasure" sank off the coast of South Africa approximately 7 Nautical miles north of Robben Island. The ship spilled over 1,300 tons of bunker oil, which contaminated about 20,000 penguins on and around the island. This is considered the worst oil spill in South Africa's history


Maximum depth is about 50m, and the top of the deck is about 30m.


The wreck is in an area where visibility is not often good.


The vessel lies almost upright on a fairly level bottom. The superstructure was removed shortly after the sinking by sawing it off with a cable towed by tugs as it was a hazard to shipping. It is not yet known where the superstructure lies in relation to the hull.

The MV Treasure had 9 large hatch openings with mechanised covers on the deck between the superstructure at the stern and the forecastle area in the bows.

The bow section has broken away from the rest of the wreck. This section is about 32m wide and 25m long (fore and aft) at deck level, and the bulwarks are still standing round the edges of the deck The bow area had a foremast with a small deckhouse at the base. The mast is gone, but the stub and the deckhouse remain. This is central on the bow deck, and the long dimension of the deckhouse is fore and aft. This means that the stem is directly in line with the long axis of the deckhouse. The deckhouse is narrow (maybe 1.5m) and about 1 level high, and about 5 or 6m long at a guess. There are some handrails on top, and the stub of the mast. The aft bulkhead has a large rectangular opening near the top which may have been a ventilator opening. There is an open doorway on the port side aft, and forward of this a hatch in the deck, also to port, and level with the front of the structure. The cover appears to be lying on deck nearby. Directly in front of the deckhouse is a fairly large winch, and to port and starboard are pairs of very large winches. One of these winches on the port side has a structure in front of it which looks like it may include two roller/sheaves and a hole much like a hawse pipe opening, but rectangular. There is no sign of chain on deck, and the winches look more suitable for handling rope, so the anchor handling gear may be below deck. There were indentations on the bulwarks, where the bulwark was stepped back from the edge of the deck, both port and starboard roughly abreast of the front of the deckhouse, but the bow section has broken away from the rest of the wreck just behind the port indentation, and forward of the starboard indentation, so only one is present on the bow section of the wreck. It is not clear what the function of these indentations was. There are several large pairs of bollards on the foredeck, and openings in the bulwarks fitted with what may be roller fairleads.

The bow deck section was continuous with the main deck which had the hatch openings to the holds, but is now broken off. There is another section of wreckage some 30m to the north-east of the bow section, which is probably part of the hull including some of the main deck and part of a hatch opening The top of this section is at about 25m depth. The almost level deck of this section has railings along at least one side, which would most likely be the side of the ship. The deck of this section is an L-shaped area about 35m long and 25m wide. To the north-east of this there is more wreckage a few metres deeper (about 35m) and tilted at a greater angle. On this section some huge equipment has been seen, which is thought to be the hatch cover operating machinery, and the hatch opening to a hold.

There is probably a section of the wreck between the bow section and the other section described, but it was not visible during either dive.

Geology: Unknown, Probably sand.


The site is exposed to wind from all directions, and swells from the north west and south west, so should be dived when the swell is low and peferably short period.

The site should be at it's best in summer but there may be occasional opportunities at any time of the year

This is an area which sometimes has strong offshore winds which can come up quickly, resulting in a very bumpy return trip. Check the weather forecast.

Get in[edit]

Boat dive: Either 26km from Oceana Power Boat Club slipway, or 12 km from Melkbosstrand

Stay safe[edit]


This is a site where it would be possible to inadvertently wander into an overhead environment if visibility is low.


Advanced deep diving qualifications are expected. Deeper areas should be dived on Trimix.

Inadvertently swimming into an overhead environment is a serious hazard on this wreck, as you will drown if you dont find your way out. Make sure you can see natural light at all times, or use a cave reel or a line to a SMB


The dive will probably require decompression, and will be relatively deep. Each diver should carry a DSMB and reel, as the wreck is huge and it may not be possible to surface on the shot line. Some level of redundancy of breathig gas supply should be carried, depending on personal skill and dive plan. It will probably be quite dark due to the depth and not very good visibility, and at least one good light should be carried. The water is usually cold, and a dry suit is recommended.

See[edit][add listing]

Marine life[edit]

(general description of biota)


Huge steel structures, with vast openings and massive deck machinery. Probably also huge machinery in the engine rooms.




No routes available. The full extent of the wreckage has not been mapped. Drop a shotline on or near the highest point you can find, which may be the quarterdeck, and start there. Explore the quarterdeck, which may give access to the engine room, or move forward over the midships section with its huge hatch openings to the holds.

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