26° 45.115' N
80° 00.615' W
March 15, 2002
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM TRAINING
The St. Jacaues is one of four seized freighters sunk at the Governor’s River Walk Reef off Palm Beach. Originally upright and intact when scuttled on March 15, 2002, the St. Jacques was significantly modified by the active 2004 hurricane season. The storm surge pummeled the freighter against the mostly bare limestone pavement, which separated the bow and stern from the collapsed cargo holds. Both sections now list at abstract angles, presenting
a surreal dive experience. The St. Jacques, resting in approximately 90 feet of water, is located between the freighter Sha Sha Boekanier to the south and a concrete rubble pile to the north; the rubble pile trails off north towards the freighter Gilbert Sea. Divers wishing to visit the third freighter, Thozina, before heading last to the Gilbert Sea should swim slightly to the east and past concrete road barriers and an anchor with chain resting in the sand, whereupon the stern of the Thozina will eventually come into View. The site typically hosts abundant marine life, and it’s not uncommon to observe sea turtles, sharks, and goliath grouper in and around the wrecks of the Governor’s River Walk Reef.
The St. Jacaues (IMO number 5190032) was launched in 1955 as the Klaus Block at the Neuenfelde, Germany yard of JJ Sietas Schifi‘swerft. A rather standard European coastal freighter, or coaster, the Klaus Block w a s 157.8 feet long, 27.6 feet wide, and 424 tons gross burden. In 1963, owner Heinrich Block sold the coaster to Gebriider Fromrnann of Hamburg, who renamed their new vessel Siiderelv; Willy Hagenah purchased the freighter in 1969, after which she sailed as Tilla Doloris; the vessel reportedly sunk, but was later raised, repaired, and sold to Medusa Shipping of Cyprus in 1978, who renamed her Doloris; t w o years later she operated as Leticia f o r Gama Navigation of Panama; in 1982, the well-traveled freighter was renamed Terence after her sale to Pelham Daleand Partners, Limited of England; similar to one of her earlier names, the freighter cruised as Tilla Doris when sold in 1990; next, Honduran company Island Transport bought the coaster in 1993 and renamed her Deborah lean; and, finally, in 1997 the vessel operated first as MirageI and thenas St. Jaques for Belize an owners. While she was employed on a rather standard route between Haiti and Miami, the St. Jacques was twice found attempting to smuggle cocaine into the United States. Following the second offense in July 2001, the freighter w a s forfeited and designated for use as an artificial reef in order to prevent her return to the narcotics trafficking industry.