RMS Orizaba

Five Fathom Bank- Rockingham

GPS:  Bow- S 32° 16.914' / E 115° 37.691’  

          Stern- S 32° 16.945’ / E 115° 37.769’   

Location: Five Fathom Bank. Point Peron

Site depth: 6-10 metres

Divable conditions: 0.5m swell

Visibilty: 5-15 metres

Vessel: Passenger Liner- Royal Mail Ship.

Construction: Steel

Tons: 6,077 tons

Vessel length: 140 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef.

Wrecked on 16th February 1905 on the Five Fathom Bank off Rockingham, the Royal Mail Steamship Orizaba was for many years one of the largest wrecks in Australian waters. Under the command of Captain Archer, the Orizaba was sailing to Fremantle with 160 passengers onboard as bushfires burnt along the coast. In a smoke haze restricting visibility, the 6077 ton steamship ran aground 2 miles west of Point Peron and was hard aground. The passengers were unloaded and with all salvageable material removed, the Orizaba was left to the mercy of the Indian Ocean. For many years until the early 80s the wreck was used as a demolitions training site for the armed forces until a request from the museum, to seek an alternative training site as the Orizaba reached a protected heritage status.

Only a few minutes by boat from the Point Peron boat ramp, the 6077 ton steam ship Orizaba lays wrecked on the Five Fathom Bank. The depth ranges from 6-11 metres and the massive site stretches over 130 metres from bow to stern. The bow has further collapsed over the last decade as well as the hull structure however, towards the stern the massive crank shaft from the triple expansion engine, steering gear and large boilers make the site an attractive dive. With its shallow depth and its location on the Five Fathom Bank the site can be prone to strong surge and is best dive in a low swell under a metre or less.