Loss of the steamer Viscaya off New Jersey coast

Short story about the shipwreck of the Spanish steamer Viscaya

By Pascal Kainic

Intelligence has reached the public of the collision between the Spanish steamer Viscaya, Captain Francisco Cunill, 1.900 tons, from the Spanish Transatlantic Company and the schooner Cornelius Hardgraves off the coast of New Jersey, on 30th of October, 1890. 

Both went down in seven minutes, six miles off Barnegat. The Viscaya was valued at $ 500.000, beautifully fitted with marble ornamentation, was en route from New York to Havanah and other port of Central America with a cargo of general merchandise, 16 passengers and 77 officers and crew.

Only 19 persons were saved from drowning. Amongst the lost passengers was Juan Pedro, a Cuban millionaire with his family and partner of the Spanish Transatlantic Line.

Divers will be sent to try to recover the bodies and some of the cargo. They will also try to salvage the gold lost in her.

Her wreck is believed to be approximately 40 meters deep. modern local divers have most probably found the wreck already, such a big steamer should still keep a lot of golden secrets inside her...


Comments (2)

1. Lynda Cunill White 03/08/2009

My grandfather and grandmother came from Barcelona, Spain in 1901 via Ellis Island. Does anyone know the names of Capt. Francisco Cunill's immediate family members names? Thank you, Lynda Cunill White

2. mark dolphin 09/07/2008

I have been diving the vizcaya for many years,i wish to know of any information or leads regarding company reords of manifest or crew, passengers lists or salvage operations done on the vizcaya.I have always heard the rumor of the vizcaya's purser stepping off the gunwhale with a box of valuables including gold only to have both go directly to the bottom! i have personally seen gold francs and coin come from the wreck but beleive it came from passengers belongings or cabins.

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