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The Ajace Shipwreck  New York's (Wreck Valley)
Historical and current New York Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.

Also known as the Italian Wreck, the Ajace, a 566 ton bark, was sunk at 4:00 AM on March 4, 1881.At the time, she was carrying a small cargo of scrap railroad iron and 2,040empty petroleum barrels. While bound for New York from Belgium, the Ajace was caught in one of the worst storms of the year and ran aground off Rockaway beach. Many sources report that Captain F. Morice, seeing that all hope was lost, opened his private supply of brandy and shared it with his crew. Soon after, the crew became badly beaten from the pounding of the waves and drunk from the brandy. Peter Sala, who was the sole survivor of the wreck, told a dramatic story which he denied that the crew drank from the captains brandy. His story, reported in the NEW YORK TIMES, claimed that half the crew were washed overboard by the heavy sea which poured over her almost simultaneously. Peter and four other sailors, George the cook, Giovanni, Michael, and David managed to hang onto the after part of the vessel. They floated on a piece of wreckage for hours and were beaten, bruised, half drowned, and almost frozen to death. Finally, Michael the ship's carpenter gave up hope. He drew his knife, shouted come, let us die together", and slit his own throat to shorten his agonizing death. Three of the crew followed the carpenter's lead. Peter Sala was rescued the next day while clinging to the floating ship's cabin.

The Ajace now rests in 25 feet of water, 300 yards west of the Granite Wreck and inshore from the Warrior buoy. Shifting sands have almost completely covered her, but divers can still find a small pile of railroad rails on this site.





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