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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/MV Daeyang Family

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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay : MV Daeyang Family
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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/MV Daeyang Family

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The dive site MV Daeyang Family is an offshore recent wreck on rocky reef in the Robben Island] area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.



  • S33°50.388' E18°23.133 (Engine block)
  • S33°50.416' E18°23.195 (Lifeboat wreck)

A short distance from the navigation buoy at Whale Rock.

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


The MV Daeyang Family was a large Korean ore carrier which was wrecked on Whale Rock on 1st March 1986 when anchors dragged in heavy weather, with a cargo of 162000 tonnes of ore.


The wreck lies at a bottom that varies from about 15m to about 19m. The shallowest point is on top of the engine block at about 5m. Most of the wreckage is low and not more than 2 to 3m above the underlying reef.


Visibility is not often good, as the wreck is very close to Whale Rock, wher there is a break in all but the flattest conditions. On a good day it may exceed 10m.


The underlying reef is fairly low profile, and is a blocky sedimentary rock, probably hard sandstones. The low areas are covered by angular grit of about 6mm, which may be the remains of the cargo.

The wreck itself is very broken up. The hull form is unrecognisable, and the plating has been torn apart and scattered over a far wider area than the original width of the ship. There are few areas higher than 2 to 3m above the reef, and the highest item by far is the block of the 8 cylinder low speed crosshead marine diesel engine, which stands upright on a botton of about 16 to 17m and rises more than 10m high. Much of the engine is missing, including the intake and exhaust manifolds and ducting, and any turbochargers that may have been fitted, but the remaining structure is still an imposing sight, looming out of the blue like a small block of flats. The crank case covers have mostly been lost, and the crankshaft, connecting rods, and in some cases the crossheads and piston rods, are visible.

The engine block is about 20m long, and the aft end can be recognised by the flywheel. Ther is no gearbox as this was a direct coupled engine. There are several beams projecting horisontally from the starboard side of the block, which may have supported catwalks and ancillary equipment.

About 20m to the north of the engine block there are remains of a water-tube boiler. The steam and water drums are now roughly vertical and the tube banks somewhat distorted, The druns project about 2 to 3 m above the adjacenr wreckage.

Near to the boiler, probably less than 10m to the east, there is the remains of a large centrifugal pump, which has a broken casing and the interior can be seen.

Geology: Pre-Cambrian sedimentary rock probably of the Tygerberg formation.


The site is exposed to wind from all directions and swells from the north west and southwest, so should be dived when the sea is almost flat, and particularly the south west swell component is short period. The site is usually at it's best in summer but there may also be occasional opportunities in autumn and early winter.

This is an area where a strong south easterly wind sometimes develops in a short time, however the forecasts are usually reliable, and the wind is unlikely to be more than a nuisance on the way back.

Get in

The site is only accessible by boat. It is about 7.2km from the Oceana Power Boat Club slipway


Marine life


Wreckage of a large steel cargo vessel.



No specific routes recommended.

Stay safe


Strong surge, sharp edged wreckage, cold water.


No special skills recommended.


Good insulation recommended. 7mm wet suit or dry suit.

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