Superior Producer, Curaçao’s Iconic Shipwreck
The Superior Producer is Curaçao’s iconic shipwreck and it is one of the most popular dive sites in Curaçao. This dive into history is rated as one of the top 5 dive sites in the Caribbean and we invite you to see it for yourself.
Dive in with us now as we explore the history of this incredible shipwreck and ultimately detail how the Superior Producer met an untimely end.
The MV Superior Producer started life as the MV Andromeda (IMO nr. 5345431). It was built in 1957 as coastal cargo ship by Handel & Scheepsbouw Maatschappij Kramer and Booy NV, from Kootstertille, Netherlands. Measuring 50.22m (165ft) in length and 7.79m (25½ft) in width, with a maximum draught of 2.58m (8½ft), this 400-ton freighter was delivered on November 8, 1957 to Muller and Reitsma NV, from Rotterdam, Netherlands.
On February 22, 1962, she was sold to Rederij L Remeeus NV, from Rotterdam, Netherlands when she officially became known as the MV Superior Producer.
The Superior Producer arrives in Curaçao
The ship had a rather mundane existence, picking up and dropping off cargo all along the Dutch coastline. The vessel also changed hands several times over the years. But On November 13, 1970 the MV Superior Producer was sold for the last time. Pan-Ven Line SA purchased the Superior Producer and re-flagged to her new home port in Panama. Now her new sole task would be moving cargo between Willemstad (Curaçao) and Pampatar (Venezeula), a city on Isla Margarita.
On September 30, 1977, the MV Superior Producer arrived early in the morning. After docking on the inside of Curaçao Harbour (St. Annabaai), just past Queen Emma floating bridge, loading began. Crews loaded the ship for two local Curaçao merchants with Christmas cargo consisting of whisky, bottles of perfume, clothing and bags.
The Sinking on September 30, 1977
At 13:30, on that fateful Thursday afternoon, the crew of nine men of Venezuelan and Colombian nationality, cast off the lines. The ship Immediately began to heel dangerously, at which point the captain ordered a portion of the cargo, not properly stowed, to be thrown overboard.
This did not help and the situation was further complicated because the crew neglected to close the portholes. As the Superior Producer began taking on water, the efforts of the Curaçao Port Authority tugboat to pull the boat upright again had no effect.
After several unsuccessful attempts, the harbourmaster, fearing for safety of the crew and ultimately for the harbour itself decided to cease all rescue efforts. The tugboat then dragged the MV Superior Producer about 500m (1,640ft) west outside the harbour entrance.
At 16:30, three hours after cast-off, the MV Superior Producer disappeared below the waves and sunk into the turquoise depths about 150m (500ft) from shore. During this same period, the captain and crew safely abandoned the ship and were safely picked up by a boat from the harbour police.
Word of the sinking spread across Curaçao like wildfire! Scuba divers, freedivers and snorkelers alike arrived on the shoreline from all over the island to scavenge the wreck for its cargo. At the time the scene was described as ‘pure chaos’. Within a few days after the sinking, the newly sunken wreck of the Superior Producer was completely stripped. Even the neglected portholes were gone.
Now, one of the Top Shipwrecks in the World
Today, the Superior Producer sits quietly upright on her keel, located between Double Reef and the entrance to St. Annabaai. Her bow faces west in roughly 30m (100ft) of water and lies about 150m (500ft) from the shoreline in front of the new Curaçao Mega-piers.
As an advanced shore or boat dive, the easiest approach will be from the stern due to the possibility of the prevailing currents. When you begin your descent on the fringing reef, an eerie dark shadow starts to appear. At first, you will only see the stern, but then the entirety of this magnificent 50m (165ft) mass with it superstructure rising to within 21m (72ft) of the surface reveals itself, covered in a vast kaleidoscope of color.
Now with roughly a half of a century of growth, the MV Superior Producer is an amazing artificial reef site. It is home to numerous colonies and different species of corals, sponges, gorgonians and sea whips. Because of this, it is a natural attraction for schools of predatory fish such as Tarpons, Barracudas, Snappers and Jacks.
The Superior Producer is also a heaven for macro photographers and anyone who likes to get a close look at smaller stuff too. Caribbean spiny lobsters, parrotfish, French and Queen angelfish, turtles, scorpionfish and even morays. Look even closer for banded coral shrimp, nudibranchs, flamingo-tongue shells and possibly even frogfish. Basket stars, octopus and large spider crabs catch the eye while night diving this beautiful shipwreck too.
Are you ready to dive into history in Curaçao?
With its wide-open cargo holds and accessible wheel house, the MV Superior Producer has become renowned as one of the Top Shipwrecks in the World. It is rivaled only by the likes of the SS Thistlegorm in the Red Sea and the WWII wrecks in Palau.