NORDLYSET discovered 141 years after capsizing


The worst tragedy and casualty in NORDEN founder Mads Christian Holm’s 21 years as manager of the company, was the total loss of the new ship NORDLYSET delivered from the Flensburg Yard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft to NORDEN on 31 August 1877. Now, 141 years later, Dutch shipwreck divers "the North Sea Divers of the Netherlands" have found the capsized vessel.

On route from Riga to Antwerp

NORDLYSET was a two-mast freight ship, 1,980 tonnes deadweight, which after having loaded grain at Riga for Antwerp and bunkered at Copenhagen on 15 December, capsized and sank in a heavy storm at North Hook off Texel in the Netherlands on 18 December 1877.

Seven crew members and two rescuers perished in the tragedy, among them engineer Daniel Wright, who was linked to NORDEN since its very inception. The British engineer was on board NORDEN’s first steamer, also named NORDEN, when it set out on its maiden voyage from Glasgow in 1872. The ship’s global voyages during the first years virtually set the pattern for the employment of NORDEN’s vessels for the coming decades. 

The minutes after the loss of NORDLYSET tell of the voluntary amounts paid to those rescued by among others the crews onboard other NORDEN vessels.

Discovered by Dutch ship wreck divers

This autumn, the vessel was discovered by a group of shipwreck divers in the Netherlands, who work alongside the Dutch Archaeology Department to explore shipwrecks off the Dutch coast. The divers had been diving around the same wreck for some months, a ship they initially thought was the SS Wandle England 1883-1893, but later found artefacts showing the vessel was in fact the NORDLYSET.

NORDEN thanks the dedicated divers "the North Sea Divers of the Netherlands" for their efforts in finding this long-lost NORDEN vessel.