MS World Discoverer: A Look at the Abandoned Ship in the Solomon Islands

If there is anything as a ship that successfully listed, the MS World Discover has a genuine shout of being a perfect candidate. The once globetrotting cruise ship could easily navigate the 8000 miles of the Northwest Passage before nature halted its seafaring career in 2000. Today, it lies abandoned in a remote bay of the Solomon Islands.

The History of the MS World Discoverer

Originally called the BEWA discoverer, the MS World Discoverer was a cruise ship built in 1974 by Schinchau Unterweser, Germany. It was eventually sold to BEWA Cruises out of Denmark, where it was renamed “Lowell Thomas Discoverer.” Between 1974 and 1976, the vessel operated on week-long trips from Great Lakes Chicago to Montreal and Back.

Adventure Cruises, Inc. bought the vessel in 1976 and renamed it World Discoverer. The ship allowed periodic voyages to the Antarctic Polar Regions thanks to its double hull construction. It made it easier for passengers to observe ice floe movements and was safe from minor impacts.

Oliver Kruess, who previously crewed as a chief mate, captained the MS World Discoverer for the better part of its expeditions. Under Society Expeditions, a team of experienced expedition leaders was present to answer the tourists’ questions as the vessel cruised to different destinations.

What Is the MS World Discoverer Famous For?

Besides how its journey ended, the MS World Discoverer is famous for its shore expeditions; it cruised to territories that not many vessels could reach. It could carry a small fleet of dinghies that helped tourists safely land on various shorelines to observe and explore local wildlife.

The vessel also had historians, naturalists, marine biologists, and geologists who answered the passengers’ questions. Some of its amenities included a medical center with an active physician, an observation lounge, a sun deck, a library, and a small gym.

What Happened to the MS World Discover?

While cruising through the Sandfly Passage in the Solomon Islands on the evening of April 30, 2000, the MS World Discoverer hit a reef or a large rock (it’s unclear what caused the accident) and started listing. Luckily, Captain Oliver Kruess could send a distress call, which the attendants in Honiara received and reacted to. A passenger ferry was sent their way, and all the people on board were successfully rescued.

Captain Kruess remained behind where he steered the vessel to the Roderick Bay. The MS World Discoverer listed about 20 degrees before the captain grounded it to avoid further sinking.

The Aftermath of the MS World Discoverer

Several salvage companies have since tried to retrieve the ship following the incident. The first people who got there found the vessel had already been ransacked by the locals during the civil war that marred the Solomon Islands. Nature has also had its way with the wreck; the ship’s surface continues to sustain rust.

Society Expedition, the company that operated the vessel at the time, refurbished another ice-class ship and named it World Discoverer. It, too, did not cruise for long as the company filed for liquidation bankruptcy. Following subsequent name changes, the ship operates today as Silver Explorer.

Current State of the MS World Discover

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Today, the MS World Discoverer has listed by at least 46 degrees and has become something of a tourist destination. Some cruise lines, including the famous MV Princess II, also pass by the abandoned vessel. Tidal activity has further damaged the wreck, reducing its chances of salvation.

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