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stepping stones of maritime history


The Willem de Zwijger was on a return trip from Batavia to the Netherlands with a cargo of hides, wool, spermaceti, aloes and sugar. The vessel never reached her destination, however, as she wrecked at Martha's Point with no loss of life.


MasterWillem Lodewijk van den Dries
Tonnage753 ton


It has been reported that numerous salvage operations took place, the main one of which was undertaken in 1978 when most of the cargo was salvaged. The salvaging was not done under permit and not much is known about the site. There were six guns removed from the wreck and some bronze carronades.

There are cannons and the ship’s figurehead on display at the Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp, Western Cape.

A mortar from the Willem de Zwyger


  • 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    Dutch Shipwrecks in South African Waters: A Brief History of Sites, Stores and Archives [Unpublished].
  • marhisdata id 9453.
  • SAHRA Database.

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