Charles Shapiro sadly passed away in 2013.

The South African Historical Wreck Society is keeping this website online in the memory of Charles. The Society's contact details are available at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to Shipwreck.co.za. You will find detailed information on a number of shipwrecks discovered off the South African coast.

Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys Letter
The Charles Shapiro Book Project Fund (click on "The Charles Shapiro Book Project Fund" to open the pdf document or right-click on it, select Save Target As and save it to your computer)

The Charles Shapiro Book Project Fund will be administered by Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys, Cape Town.

Sponsorship donations are being sought to assist with costs for the production of this forthcoming publication. For further details please see the accompanying letter. (click on the picture at right to enlarge)

The Salvor & Maritime Archaeology published in the S.A. Archaeology Society’s general magazine called The Digging Stick - August 2012 Edition (click on "The Digging Stick - August 2012 Edition" to open the pdf document or right-click on it, select Save Target As and save it to your computer)

Blower, used on Birkenhead 1852 excavation

Charles Shapiro was a maize farmer in South Africa in the Transvaal. He also had an engineering workshop next to his family's maize mill and his time was spent running and maintaining these two businesses. His childhood friend, David Crouse, was a keen underwater photographer and encouraged Charles in his spare time to join the diving club he belonged to and to take a diving course.
Full Story…

The Johanna was the first English East Indiaman to be wrecked on the South African coastline. She was an English East Indiaman of 550 tons, commanded by Captain Robert Brown. She was on an outward bound voyage from the Downs, off south-east Kent, which she had left on the 27th February 1682 in the company of 4 other ships namely; the Johanna 1682, Blower unit being used on siteWilliamson, Nathaniel, Welvaert   and Samson  , all bound for Bengal except the Johanna   destined for Surat.
Full Story…

In 1984, after the Johanna discovery, Aqua Exploration (consisting of Charles and Arnold "Mickey" Shapiro, Frederik "Erik" Lombard, Andre Hartman, Traill Witthuhn and Michael Keulemans) was formed and the search for the Brederode   and other wrecks continued. They set about designing a versatile vessel and prop-wash to suit all conditions and named the apparatus "Blower". The Blower is a 7.5 metre catamaran,
Full Story…

The search for the Brederode began in 1982. Charles Shapiro, representing a group of salvors, began combing archives in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and in South Africa, searching for further information on the location of two other wrecks (the Johanna   and the Nossa Senhora dos Milagros  ), when he came across information relating to the Brederode  . Colebrooke 1778, Karen salvaging copper 'finger' ingots.The Brederode   was a Dutch East Indiaman (VOC) vessel of 1150 tons. She was built in 1780 at the Amsterdam Yard and belonged to the Amsterdam Chamber "A", of the Dutch East India Company (A similar vessel measured 150 feet in length, 42 feet in width and had a draft of 18 feet). The Brederode   was commanded by Captain Gottlieb Mulder. The ship was on a homeward bound journey from Batavia and China in 1785 when she was lost off the South African coast, carrying a valuable cargo of tea, spices, satin and linen cloth, porcelain and gold. This was her maiden voyage to and from the East.
Full Story…

Read more about these and other wrecks like Le Centaur 1750,
Colebrooke 1778, Sussex 1738, Britannia 1826,
Borderer 1868, Johanna Wagner 1862, Schonenberg 1722, The Von Mollendorf treasure and the famous H.M.S. Birkenhead 1852 brought to you by

Charles Shapiro cc T/A "Aqua Exploration"

South African Historical Wreck Society

+27 (0) 82 086 5937


The South African Historical Wreck Society (SAHWS)
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