direct to content


stepping stones of maritime history


The Stabroek wrecked during a violent storm, that also saw the destruction of the Middenrak and the grounding of the Haerlem.

The Stabroek was grounded in a north-north-westerly gale at 1pm on Saturday 3 July 1728. Two of her anchors snapped on account of the rough seas and she was swept towards the shore. After crashing into the shore, the crew decided to beach the vessel near the Salt River mouth to save the lives of the crew and the cargo. Fortunately, she did not break up and only 2 lives were lost while the crew tried to get ashore.

The Stabroek cargo that could be saved, beer and canvas to the value of 10,252 guilders, was later transferred to the Delfland.

At the time that she wrecked, the Stabroek’s captain had come onshore to file an official complaint. As a result, the captain was investigated for negligence but he was eventually acquitted.

The gale that wrecked the Stabroek, Middenrak and Haerlem alerted the VOC to look for other anchorage places due to the unstable weather conditions that plagues Table Bay during the winter months. Ships were eventually directed to anchor in False Bay during the winter months in 1742, though Table Bay was still the preferred harbour due to its better security and infrastructure.


MasterBarend van der Zalm
People on board180
Length145 feet (44.2 m)
Tonnage900 ton (450 last)


The Stabroek was likely dismantled after it was wrecked. However, any material that might remain currently lies beneath reclaimed land.


  • DAS 2724.3.
  • Generale missiven Deel 8, 180.
  • SAHRA Database.
  • Lesa la Grange, Martijn Manders, Briege Williams, John Gribble and Leon Derksen (2024).
    Dutch Shipwrecks in South African Waters: A Brief History of Sites, Stores and Archives [Unpublished].
  • Fick, J. (2018).
    The Wrecking of the VOC-Ship Stabroek and the changing Maritime Landscape of the Cape of Good Hope 1722-1743. [Unpublished Paper].
    Leiden University.

Down on 13 July

New in MaSS

Wrecks of Flevoland

Burgzand Noord

13 Provinces