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British Splendor - Ocracoke NC

British Splendor is a boat accessible salt water dive site, located in Ocracoke, NC. This dive site has an average rating of 4.33 out of 5 from 6 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 91-100ft/28-30m. The average visibility is 36-40ft/11-12m.

BRITISH SPLENDOUR Type: Tanker Built: 1931 by Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron, Co. Ltd.;
Jarrow and Hebburn-on-Tyne Owner: British Tanker Co., Ltd
Home Port: London, England Size (ft.): 456-0 x 59-9 x 27-1 Tonnage: 7,138 tons Propulsion: diesel engine, single screws/speed 10 knots
Date Sunk: 4/7/1942 Cause: Torpedoed by U-552 Location Ocracoke, NC GPS:
SHIP HISTORY: (Sources: Gentile, Hickam, Wynn)
The British Splendour was making its way from Houston, TX to ultimately meet a British bound convoy off of Nova Scotia and deliver 10,000 tons of gasoline. As the tanker approached the Hatteras area, its captain was quite of aware of the potential danger and was plotting his strategy to navigate thru the area unharmed. The Splendour was not without means of protection as it was armed with a 4" gun, a 12 pound gun, a .40 mm Bofors gun and two machine guns. In addition, the tanker was being escorted by two armed trawlers — the HMS St. Zeno (FY-280) and HMS Hertfordshire (FY-176). The tanker captain decided to run as close to shore as possible following the 8 fathom line. Unfortunately, the U-552, captained by Erich Topp, by was waiting, possibly disguising itself as a blinking buoy. The tanker presented the U-552 with a perfect target setup and a torpedo was soon on its way. It struck the Splendour on the port side near the engine room killing 12 crew members. The explosion started a fire which quickly spread to the gasoline bunkers and soon the ship was ablaze. The captained ordered abandon ship and the 41 survivors took to three lifeboats and one life raft. The ship settled at its stern and continued to burn. Survivors were picked-up by the trawler St. Zeno and were taken to Norfolk. KL Topp and the U-552 continued its rampage torpedoing the Lancing, Atlas, Byron Benson, andTamaulipason this patrol.

DIVE NOTES : Diving Depths: 85-100 ft. Current: slight to moderate Visibility: usually in the 40-60 foot range Summer Temperature: hi 70s Points of Interest: High relief of the stern section and the striking remaims of the bow; some small points of penetration in the stern; camshaft; Fish/Animal Life: The usually NC marine animals inhabit this wreck - amberjacks, spadefish, baitfish and barracudas. I have seen many stingrays and several nursesharks on this wreck; african pompano also frequent the midwater areas above the wreck; Description: The wreck is relatively contiguous with most of the relief at the stern and long flat sections amidships. The prevailing current seems to run from bow to stern, making the swim to the bow seemingly "endless" if you are starting at the stern. In low viz, the wide expanse of the low miship sections can be confusing if doing something much more than "hunting the edge".

Web site for videos of various wreck sites in the area-


FastFord - 9/11/2012 10:19 PM
Rating Added: 4
BIG sand tigers...awesome. Also saw cool small stuff like arrow crabs hiding in the coral encrusted decks