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S.S. Saganaga

Bell Island Wrecks, Newfoundland, Canada  

All four wrecks off Bell island were sunk as a result of torpedo hits by German submarines sneaking into Conception Bay during WW2. The wrecks were English-built merchant ships designed to carry iron ore from the mines on the Bell Island to their final destinations across Atlantic. All four were built in a similar way with the superstructure located amidships and two massive cargo holds placed between the superstructure and bow/stern. Loading and unloading was done with the help of derricks located in the middle of each cargo hold.The length of all four ranged from 400 to 455 ft, and tonnage from 5500 tons to 7500 tons. Given the war time, guns were mandatory and were located at the stern.

With depth ranging from 60 to 110 ft, Saganaga was the second shallowest of the four wrecks, which allowed more time for exploration. She went down on September 5, 1942 struck by two torpedoes fired by German U-boat U-513. Saganaga and Lord Strathcona were struck and sunk on the same day, each by two torpedoes. Saganaga was hit first and Lord Strathcona crew was searching for survivors when their vessel was hit. Being heavy loaded with iron ore, both disappeared underwater within minutes. No one died on Lord Strathcona but 29 officers perished on Saganaga.

2013 update: Some of the swimthroughs are starting to collapse, but the other ones have opened up. Torpedo hole remains an attraction.

Old Shots:

The torpedos that struck the Saganaga created exiting new entrances in the middle of the ship below deck, allowing access to an open cargo hold and providing some unbelievable photo opportunities of the jagged edges of torpedo hole framed by the marine growth that is slowly reclaiming the wreck as its own.

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Some of the easy and unbelievably beautiful swimthroughs can be found just above deck level.  A massive spare anchor dwarfing any divers sits on the deck amidships. Cargo holds are all open providing easy access to divers. The bulkheads between the adjacent holds have window-like openings in them, right under the main deck. A lot of cabins above the main deck are still relatively intact albeit covered by marine life on the outside.

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Bow of the wreck is gorgeous adorned by various anemones and other marine elements. The bow chains are still in place handing all the way to the bottom far far away. However, the wrecks' best attraction is definitely at the stern - a long gun covered by marine growth, but still distinctly recognizable.

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