The “African Queen” ran aground on Gull Shoal about nine miles off the coast of Ocean City on Dec. 30, 1958. The ship, with a crew of 46 and cargo that included 21,000 tons of crude oil, was headed for the Mobil refinery in Paulsboro, N.J. when disaster struck.
As the captain attempted to back the ship off the sandbar, it split in two with the bow section broken at an angle in 27 feet of water and the stern section settled on the sandbar. Fortunately, all of the crew was rescued.
The ship sat there for over six weeks while the owners tried to figure how to save her. Finally, they gave up and abandoned the “African Queen” setting off the biggest salvage hunt in Ocean City’s history.
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Photo courtesy Wayne Littleton