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The Iberia Stern Section Shipwreck  New York's Wreck Valley
Historical and current New York's Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.
 

 

Right to Left: Capt. Dan Berg, Mel Brenner, Jim Fazalore, Mike McMeekin, Nick Sinnot, Rob Wianecki and Capt. Ed Slater with artifacts from the Iberia and Iberia Stern Section

The Iberia,  was bound from the Persian Gulf to New York. She developed engine trouble just a few miles off Long Island, New York where she lay at anchor for three weeks awaiting repairs. Once repairs were made she slowly started to make her way to New York. Meanwhile on Saturday morning, November 10, 1888, the 520 foot long Cunard luxury liner, Umbria, bound for Liverpool, encountered dense fog, as she sailed out of New York harbor. The Umbria which was under the command of Captain William McMickan was sailing with 215 first class passengers, 67 second class, and 429 steerage class passengers. Captain McMickan reduced the Umbria's speed, posted a look out and began to blow the vessel's fog horn.  According to eyewitness accounts listed in a NEW YORK TIMES article "At 1:18 PM the form of a strange steamer loomed out of the fog, lying across the Umbria's path and headed northward. The Cunarder's wheel was reversed at full speed, but not withstanding the precautions that had been taken on board to prevent an accident, the Umbria had headway enough to ram her sharp steel nose into the stranger's port quarter and carry away the greater part of her stern. The piece sliced off included the overhanging part or 'counter,' and measured lengthwise on top, 14 feet". "This section holding the flagstaff with colors flying, drifted away on one side of the Umbria and the bulk of the disabled steamer floated away in an opposite direction".

 

The Iberia's main wreckage has been a popular site for divers and fisherman for years. The location of her stern section remained a mystery until 2011. Capt. Dan Berg, Ed Slater and crew of the dive boat Wreck Valley were homebound from NJ in April 2011 when they came across a little old Italian man adrift on a 16' boat with an outboard engine. The guys engine had failed in the bay by Staten Island. Currents had taken him out of the bay, and out past the shipping lanes. When we found him he had been adrift for over 7 hours. The Wreck Valley took the little boat in tow but on the way back to Jones Inlet noticed a local fishing boat bridle anchored in an area with no know wreckage. Capt. Berg took note of the boats position and returned the following week to check out the numbers. Ed Slater was the first to dive the new wreck. Poor visibility made it hard to recognize and at first we though we had found only a small pile of debris. We returned again to chisel out a lense that Ed had spotted and again to work on some brass that was sticking out of the conglomerate. After a few trips we realized that what we had found was actually the stern overhang of a large steel hulled ship. We had the tip of the stern and rudder. Exactly what was missing from the Iberia's main wreckage.

The Stern section sits on a silty bottom on  her starboard side in under 90 feet of water.

Above: Wood ring from the stern helm.

Above: Dan Berg with a fancy perfume bottle recovered from the wreck.
Below: Late 1800's vintage blob top bottle recovered from the wreck.

Above from right to left Ed Slater, Anthony Catalanato, Rob Wianecki and Capt. Dan Berg with artifacts from the Iberia stern section. Photo by Mel Brenner.

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

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