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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 8 or 9 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 behaviour of Klink while there tested the patience of the Maldivians, in particular, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar II (1720 - 50 AD).

The wreck site was found in 1997 by 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.

Description

Yard: Middelburg, Zeeland

Chamber: Zeeland

Armament: 40 cannons

Dutch East Indiaman type of ship.

MasterAntonie Klink
People on board200
Length145 feet (44.2 m)
Tonnage800 ton (400 last)

Status

Coral has grown over the wreck site throughout the years, even reaching a thickness of three metres 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 sherds could be seen.

The wreck is located between 3 and 5 metres deep on the west coast of 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.

References

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

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