Hamburg Sud shipwrecks off the coast of Brazil

Among the thousands of shipwrecks off the coast of Brazil, few of them have one thing in commom: The fact of belong to the same navigation company.

The german company Hamburg Sud Amerika Line, founded in 1871, among others that sail ours seas, call our attention because some of the most visited shipwrecks off the coast of Brazil use to sail under this flag. Others ships of this very company are still lost on the sea.

When Hamburg Sud started his operations, the main routes was Hamburg to Bahia, Rio de Janeiro to Santos with scale in Lisbon, later extended to River Plate. From 1900, an express passenger service was open between Hamburg to River Plate and New York to Brazil.

This article is the first who intend to obtain informations about this ships and images.

The ships are:


Built as Montevideo in 1936.
Sold to Lloyde Brasileiro in 1942.
Torpedoed and sunk by U-518 in 1943. 

Buenos Aires

Widely know by the divers of Rio de Janeiro, the Buenos Aires sunk in 1890 after a collision with Rasa Island. The wreckage are dismantled but there is a lot to see yet. The depht vary from 12 to 40 meters and the technical divers have in this ship a great option for dives.

Cap Frio

Stranded next to Barra Lighthouse off Salvador in 1908 due to bad weather. A salvage operation to save the ship didn´t workout and the shipo was declare lost. The passengers and cargo was save. The shipwrecks are in dephts of 13 to 18 meters.

Cap Trafalgar

During the first world war, passenger ships receive armament such as cannons and reclassified as auxiliary cruisers. These was the case of Cap Trafalgar that in 1914, after five months of duty in the route Hamburg and South America receive armament of the Dreadnought Eber.

When the Cap Trafalgar was being refueled in Trindade Island off Vitoria the british auxiliary cruiser Carmania locate him.

After a fast pursuit, the both ship engaged in a battle that last for nearly one and a half hour and ended with the Cap Trafalgar badly wounded. The ship capsize and sunk by the bow. 279 german survived and 16 died including the captain of the ship.

The localization of Cap Trafalgar is not known until the moment e this shipwreck lies probably in great dephts.The ship who passed guns to the Cap Trafalgar sunk in 1917 off the coast of Bahia.


Not localized and not known by the general public. There is no much information about this ship. Built in 1881 with 1790 tons, it sunk off the coast of Ceará in 1890 after hit a sand bar or a reef. According to Ships list this ship sunk off Ceará and in the Hamburg Sud book it sunk next Montevideo.

Santa Catharina

In 1914, during the first world war, the packet Santa Catharina, in a route between New York and Santos, was captured by the british cruiser H.M.S Glasgow and scorted to the Abrolhos Islands. A fire started on the ship and soon it was out of control. The crew of the H.M.S Glasgow sunk the ship. This ship was not discovered yet.


Also not known by the general public, yhe Uruguay sunk in the Cape Frio area in 1895 due to dense fog very common in the area. In that time, the ship was in route from Montevidéo to Hamburg with general cargo. Research are in progress to identify the location of this shipwreck.

Tijuca / Baependy

The Tijuca was built in 1899 for the Hamburg Sud and was on duty until 1917 when it was confiscated in the end of world war one.Later it was transferred to the Lloyde Brasileiro and renamed Baependy.

In 1942 while in a voyage to Recife, the baependy was hit by two torpedoes of the U-507 under the command of captain Harro Schacht. The attack accur 15 to 20 miles off the coast of Sergipe near the Rio Real Lighthouse.

55 crewmembers and 214 passenger died in the shipwreck.These episode force Brazil into the world war two. Ship not localized yet.


This was not a Hamburg Sud ship but he use to make some services to the company. It sunk on the reefs of the Barra Lighthouse in Salvador in the year of 1876.It in the dephts of 7 to 11 meters and is already very dismantled.

Rodrigo Coluccini
Criador e proprietário da Revista Deco Stop, foi um dos responsáveis pela divulgação em larga escala das informações sobre naufrágios no litoral brasileiro, fato antes restrito a poucos. É co-autor do manual de naufrágios da certificadora PDIC. Seu trabalho é citado em vários livros atuais sobre história maritima brasileira confirmando a importância de seu trabalho.