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stepping stones of maritime history

History

The ship Huis 't Krayensteyn sailed for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a merchant vessel between Patria and the Indies. She left Holland from the province of Zeeland with 275 people on board. Despite a quick voyage with no sick or dead, she wrecked 3 miles of the coast of the Cape on 27 of May 1698. The ship was smashed against rocks by a strong current. In the African winter, it is normal that there are heavy storms and strong currents. Measures were taken to salvage the wreck. 16 chests of specie were saved out of the 19 on board the ship.

Example of a storm at the Cape (1692) (source: Atlas of Mutual Heritage).

Dutch VOC ship in heavy weather.

Description

The Huis 't Krayensteyn was a merchant vessel built in Middelburg for the Zeeland Chamber of the VOC.

Drawing of a pinas in Nicolaes Witsen, 1671.

MasterJan van de Vijver
People on board275
Length160 feet (48.8 m)
Tonnage1154 ton (577 last)

Status

Since the salvage attempts of the 17th century, the site of Huis 't Krayenstein has been heavily depleted by salvage operations. Artefacts such as coins and brass cannons had been recovered.

In the 1960s a salvage expedition was led by Tom Asaro. During the expedition, they recovered specie, pewter spoons, clay pipes and lead caps. These items were donated to the South African Museum.

All that is left today on the site are seven cannons and five anchors, conglomerates and small ceramic sherds. The wreck is situated in a sheltered bay and therefore easily accessible for shore diving. There is a lot of concretion and kelp on site.

The wreck site is protected in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999. This act regards historic shipwrecks as well. The site may not be disturbed without the permission of the South African Resources Agency (SAHRA) and artefacts removed from the wreck may not be traded without SAHRA's permission.

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