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

Stäng karta

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


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.