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SS Orizaba 1905

Orizaba 1905 Orizaba 1905

Located on the Five fathom Bank is the wreck of a Royal Mail steamer sunk at the turn of the century ( 1905 ). The wreck now lies in 15 meters of water, although it is somewhat broken up now large sections of the Orizarba are still intact and it makes for one of our most commonly ask for dives.

Orizaba Steamship, 6298 tons. (Sister Oroya). Built at Barrow, 1886. Lbd 460 x 49.3 x 19.4 ft. Owned by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, sister ship to the Oroya. Wrecked on Five Fathom Bank near Garden Island on the approach to Fremantle, 17 February, 1905. Visibility had ben obscured by bushfire haze. Although she quickly developed a heavy list to port all passengers were landed safely, then about 900 tons of the 2,500 tons of cargo was recovered. Battered constantly by a heavy swell, parts of the wreck remained visible for more than two years before breaking up and disappearing two years later. Framework of the hull remains together with boilers, parts of the engines and a considerable amount of scattered wreckage. She is one of the largest ships to have been wrecked in Australian waters.

At 148 metres long, the Orizaba is one of the largest accessible shipwrecks in Australian waters, however the swells are unpredictable and the mass of jagged metal and junk on the seabed generally makes it an uncomfortable dive.

The Orizaba was a 3325-ton Orient liner. It was wrecked on the 17`h February 1905, after it had been brought over the Five Fathom Bank with the crew thinking they were heading for Fremantle. After realising their error, instead of anchoring they steamed back out to sea and struck a reef. The wreck has been heavily salvaged and makes for an interesting dive.

Research by students from Rockingham Senior High School