The Altair Wreck

Foto: J. V. Noordt

It was April 1956 and the Dutch ship “Altair” was arriving to the harbour of Vitória, from Rio de janeiro. These twocities was scales from a voyage between Buenos Aires and Rotterdam. Under the command of Captain Kop and loaded with 6.500 tons of cargo, 43 crewmen and 14 passengers, the “Altair” was sailing in good weather ,good visibility and calm wind.

When the captain spot the buoy of reef do Cavallo, he gave order to stop the engines and await for the local pilot to proceed a safe aproach to Vitorias harbour. As no pilot was available, the captain decided to drop the anchors and in this process, the “Altair” almost collided with a Japanese ship that was already anchored in the area. To avoid the collision, some maneuvering was made and the ship hit the reef of Borborema. After a few attempts to save the ship, the engine officer infomed captain Kop that the engine room was under water and none the engines or the pumps could be used again.

A mnayday distress signal was sent and a presence of a tugboat requested. The crew and the passengers abandoned the ship and no victms was reported.In a few days the biggest part of the ship was underwater and the “Altair” was declare lost. The shipwreck is in a depht of 10 meters, very dismantled due to demolition works made by brazilian authorities because the wreck was a danger to local navigation.

The best time to dive in the “Altair” is in the Summer when the visibility is better. Fernando campagnoli of Cia do Mergulho is the dive operator in the área. Contacts with Fernando are made by e-mail:

The photo of the “Altair” sinking was taking by Fernando´s uncle back in the late´s 50.

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.