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Merestein, sunk in 1702 off South Africa

This Dutch East Indiaman was outbound when she tried to put into Saldanha Bay to alleviate rampant scurvy on board the ship. On April 3, 1702, she hit reefs on the southwest point of Jutten Island and within hours was smashed to pieces. Only 99 of the 200 people aboard the Merestein survived.

On board the Merestein were several chests of silver coins for trade in the East Indies, for which immediate salvage plans were undertaken. But Jutten Island is no easy dive, and all attempts were abandoned until modern times.The wreck was re-found and salvaged in the early 1970s, yielding almost exclusively Dutch silver ducatoons from the 1600s. The number of coins found in the 1970s was around 15,000 and is believed to be nowhere near all of the treasure that was lost.

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