The retourvloot, ‘home-bound fleet’, of 1647, leaving Batavia Roads, by an anonymous master. Two of the vessels, Tijger (fourth from left) and Walvis (sixth from left), later sank in the area here surveyed.

overview chartThis site provides information on a number of ships lost by the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company, in the vicinity of Southern Sulawesi and the Flores Sea, ca. 03-08dgr.S / 117-125dgr. E, right in the center of the Indonesian Archipelago.
The list of shipwrecks here discussed does not claim to be complete – I’m convinced that a detailed research in the surviving archives will come up with more vessels, big and small, lost in the area.  I based it on an ‘example survey’ I made in 2005/6 for the Agency for Marine and Fisheries Research, Department of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta.  As I happen to have some of the necessary sources at hand, the main focus are vessels lost in the mid-1600s.

I should underline that this site does not seek to inspirit treasure hunting: The attentive reader will easily note that next to none of the vessels here listed carried the riches so commonly associated with shipwrecks.  On the contrary – the true treasure these ships still contain for us today are their, so often, fascinating tales, open windows into a time long gone by that, as any historic inquiry, should enrich our understanding of the present.

You can access information on the vessels here discussed via this list.

For those interested enough, there is a page with links to other websites on VOC wrecks and the archival sources here used.

Horst H. Liebner, Somba Opu, Makassar, November 2015

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