SS Alkimos

GPS: S 31° 36.614'

         E 115° 39.424'

Location: Alkimos Beach

Site depth: 4 metres

Divable conditions: Swell <0.5

Visibilty: 2-6 metres

Vessel: Freighter

Construction: Steel

Tons: 7,176 tons

Vessel length: 134 metres

Wreck event: Broke anchor while disabled

The Alkimos was built in just 27 days in Baltimore in the United States in 1943. It was originally built for the United States merchant navy and named the George M. Shriver but was leased to the Norwegian Merchant Navy soon after being launched and was renamed the Viggo Hansteen. For the final two years of World War 2 the ship made multiple crossings across the North Atlantic unscathed from German U-boats, however, in 1944 a murder suicide took place on the vessel and a female radio operator was shot dead. Following the war, the ship changed hands a number of times and in 1953 it was renamed yet again as the Alkimos. In 1963 the Alkimos ran aground south of Geraldton and from that point on the vessel was destined to never leave Western Australia. What followed was a series of mishaps and groundings, and misfortune to however came into contact with the ship. Many locals refused to go near the wreck after multiple strange happenings onboard and at the adjacent beach. One of the most notable was the discovery of the skull of a missing swimmer Herbert Voight that had washed up inside the hull of the wreck. Having witnessed over the last 15 years what little remained of the vessel further deteriorate beneath the waves, it's hard to imagine the imposing size of the freighter as pictured, as it stood back when it had first washed up in the early 60s.

For a full and detailed history on the life and loss on the Alkimos view our youtube link above.

Originally considered unsafe for diving due to its unstable state, the wreck now seems to have fully collapsed or disintergrated besides the engine. The Alkimos site is now being visited by local charter boats and divers. Located 320 metres off Shorehaven Beach in 4 metres of water, the dive is generally considered an average site that rarely has good visibility and is prone to surge, but in near zero swell conditions the possibility is there to poke into some of the structure of the wreck.

The easiest way to access the wreck is by boat from Mindarie marina, on the southern side of the wreck is a number of sand holes suitable for anchoring

Image: Stanley Perkins Collection The Alkimos in 1963