Shipwrecks

There are hundreds of shipwrecks along the coasts of Sweden that contain environmentally hazardous substances. When these substances ultimately leak into the marine environment it risks damaging plants, animals and humans.

Environmental risks with shipwrecks

The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) is responsible for coordinating the investigations, as well as the recovery of environmentally hazardous substances and lost fishing gear (ghost nets) from shipwrecks in Swedish waters.

There are about 17 000 shipwrecks along the coasts of Sweden and the Swedish Maritime Administration classified 3 000 of these as possibly hazardous for the environment, 300 as hazardous for the environment and 30 of them as an acute environmental threat.

Shipwrecks as an environmental problem

Shipwrecks leaking oil or petroleum products pose risk to marine life in Swedish waters. Organisms living in the vicinity of the shipwreck are mainly affected but the oil can also spread to other areas with the currents. Toxic substances such as oil, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH:s) and heavy metals are taken up by microorganisms and transferred up the food chain to fish and crustaceans.

Several shipwrecks contain large volumes of oil that can, when it leaks out, damage large areas. Read more about the effects of oil spillson our Swedish pages.

Working group

SwAM coordinates the working group involved in the risk assessment and recovery of environmentally hazardous substances and ghost nets from shipwrecks. Other participants in the workgroup are:

Distribution of responsibility in the working group

    • Chalmers University of Technology develop the probabilistic risk assessment tool VRAKA
    • The Swedish Maritime Administration performs hydrographic surveys to examine the status and position of the shipwrecks.
    • Swedish National Maritime Museums contribute with historical information regarding the ship and the wreckage.
    • The Swedish Coast Guard and the Swedish Armed Forces (the Navy) dive and film the shipwrecks with remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) to investigate if they pose a threat to the environment. The Coast Guard does also perform remediation operations in the event of an acute oil spill.
    • SwAM coordinates the investigations and the recovery of hazardous substances and ghost nets. Competent and experienced contractors which SwAM has framework agreements with carry out the work. SwAM also assists in developing new methods for the remediation of shipwrecks.

    Reports on environmentally hazardous shipwrecks

    If you find a shipwreck or ammunition

    If you find ammunition, sea mines or mustard gas, immediately contact the Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (JRCC) or the Emergency Center 112.

    If you find a shipwreck, contact the Swedish Maritime Administration.

    Map of environmentally hazardous shipwrecks

    The list of environmentally hazardous shipwrecks is taken from the Swedish Maritime Administration's report Environmental hazards with shipwrecks (Miljörisker med fartygsvrak) from 2011. Click on the dots to read more about the shipwrecks.

    The table lists environmentally hazardous shipwrecks, their position, when they wrecked and the environmentally hazardous substances they carried.

    List of environmentally hazardous shipwrecks

    The table lists environmentally hazardous shipwrecks, their position, when they wrecked and the environmentally hazardous substances they carried.

    Ship

    County

    Wrecked

    Environ­mentally hazardous substances

    Measure taken

    Altnes

    Halland

    1998

    Oil, petrol coal


    Brem­­sund

    Kalmar

    1966

    Oil


    Finn­­birch

    Kalmar

    2006

    Oil


    Fu Shan Hai

    Danish waters outside of Born­holm

    2003

    Oli


    Har­burg

    Stock­holm

    1957

    Oil


    Heidar­stindur

    Skåne

    1990

    Oil


    Hohen­eichen

    Skåne

    1959

    Oil

    Re­mediated

    Immen

    Stock­holm

    1977

    Oil


    Ingemar

    Kalmar

    1984

    Oil


    Irevik

    Skåne

    1967

    Oil


    Jan Hewe­liusz

    German waters

    1993

    Oil


    Koro­nowo

    Danish waters

    1979

    Oil


    Lange­­land

    Västra Götaland

    2009

    Oil


    Lindes­­näs

    Sörmland

    1957

    Oil, kerosene


    Malmi

    Gotland

    1979

    Oil


    Marina

    Öster­götland

    2006

    Oil


    Marina av Hönö

    Västra Götaland

    2006

    Oil, trawl

    Remediated

    Martina

    Skåne

    2000

    Oil, hydro­chloric acid


    Minde

    Skåne

    1986

    Oil


    Mundo­gas

    Uppsala

    1966

    Oil, ammonia


    The ship­wrecks at Måseskär

    Västra Götaland

    1946

    Chemical munition, ammu­nition, oil


    Necati Pehlivan

    Stock­holm

    1954

    Oil


    Norr­tank

    Kalmar

    1967

    Oil

    Ship­wreck salvaged 1967

    Nynäs I

    Stock­holm

    1963

    Oil


    Nynäs IX

    Västra Götaland

    1958

    Oil, kerosene

    Wreck totally de­graded

    Onega

    Stock­holm

    1960

    Oil


    Rone

    Gotland

    1981

    Oil


    Sandön

    Skåne

    1975

    Oil, phos­phate

    Re­mediated

    Sefir

    Kalmar

    1980

    Salvaged

    Ship­wreck salvaged 1981

    Skytt­eren

    Västra Götaland

    1942

    Oil


    Thetis

    Västra Götaland

    1985

    Oil

    Oil and ghost net salvaged

    Tilia

    Kalmar

    1972

    Oil


    Villon

    Skåne

    1986

    Oil


    Wästan­våg

    Gävle­borg

    1965

    Oil, nitre


    Östan­hav

    Kalmar

    1963

    Oil


    The list is taken from the Swedish Maritime Administration's report Miljörisker med fartygsvrak (Environmental hazards with shipwrecks) from 2011.

    Visit The Swedish National Heritage Board’s service Fornsök for more information on shipwrecks in Swedish waters.