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stepping stones of maritime history


Ravesteyn was built in 1719 in a shipyard in Zeeland, and sailed as a merchant vessel for the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

During her second voyage to the east, Ravesteyn struck a reef in the Maldives. On the night of either the 8th or 9th of May, 1726, she hit the northern reef of the Ari Atoll, the so called Gangehi Maavaru reef. The cargo was saved, which included nine chests of silver and one of gold. The Captain, Antonie Klink, sent the rest of the crew to Malé, while he remained for one month at the island near where the vessel was lost. The arrogant behavior of Klink while there tested the patience of the Maldivians, in particular, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar II (1720 - 50 AD).

The wrecksite was found in 1997 by the Dutchman Ruud Paesie. He later wrote a book on the ship and her last voyage. (see references)

In the National Archives in The Hague there is a map of the Ari Atoll region which indicates the Ravesteyn shipwreck (VELH153).

Waters of Ari Atoll, Maldives.

Archaeological description

Coral has grown over the wrecksite throughout the years, even reaching a thickness of three meters in some places. Due to this growth, excavating the wreck was quite a challenge, as it was completely covered, and only small fragments such as clay pipes and shards could be seen.

The wreck is between 3 and 5 meters of depth on the west coastof Ari Atoll in the Maldives, but is not well preserved due to the coral overgrowth, and is at a very high risk of human impact. The Dutch government is not recognized by the Malaysian government as the owner of the wreck, and it is not presently known whether any efforts are being undertaken to preserve the wreck.


Type : Dutch East Indiaman (spiegelretourschip)

Name: Ravesteyn (Ravenstein)

Built: 1721

Yard: Middelburg, Zeeland

Chamber: Zeeland

Tonnage: 800, 400 last

Length: 145 feet (Keel length)

Armament: 40 cannons

Crew: 200

Master: Anthonie Klink

Dutch East Indiaman type of ship.


  • Ruud Paesie.
    VOC-retourschip Ravesteyn.
  • Paesie, R.
    Het VOC-retourschip Ravesteyn. De laatste reis van een Zeeuwse Oost-indiëvaarder, .

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