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stepping stones of maritime history


The Amstelveen foundered offshore along with the Sampson in a great gale on her second return voyage to Holland. Only two members of her crew survived (another source suggests only one crew member was saved) and were found clinging to wreckage some hours later by other ships of the fleet. One crew member of the Sampson was also saved.

Below is an Eyewitness account by Pieter Eekhof van Lubeek, the constapelmaat, as recorded in the Cape of Good Hope - Council of Policy - C.58-pp.89-99. on Wednesday 11 March 1722.

The Amstelveen was caught in a strong north-easterly gale on the 17th of January while it was travelling as part of a fleet somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The captain commanded that the sails be taken down for the night to prevent being separated. The crew subsequently spent the whole night bucketing water out of the ship due to the rough ocean conditions.

The next morning, none of the other ships were in sight. The captain then decided to try and get in front of the wind, at which point the ship keeled over to the starboard side. Attempts to get the ship upright again failed and the vessel sank quickly, and many sailors trapped in the ship drowned in the process. The eyewitness, Pieter Eekhof van Lubeek, managed to drift on some of the pieces of the wreck till the 19th of January, when he was picked up by the Den Dam, which had also rescued the other survivors.

MasterThenis de Haan
People on board300
Length160 feet (48.8 m)
Tonnage1150 ton (575 last)


  • Dutch-Asiatic Shipping.
    Details of voyage 2443.2 from Texel to Batavia.
    Huygens ING.
  • Leon Derksen, John Gribble, Lesa la Grange, Martijn Manders and Briege Williams (2023).
    Dutch Shipwrecks in South African Waters: A Brief History of Sites, Stores and Archives [Unpublished].

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