Built in 1872, the Minnie Breslauer was a steel-hulled English steam freighter built in Portugal. She left Malaga in early 1873 on her maiden voyage to New York with a cargo of wine, dried fruit, bales of cork and 160-pound lead ingots. Unfamiliar with Bermuda’s reefs, Captain Peter Corbet edged the new ship toward the shore, but she collided with the submerged South West Breaker reef and ground to a halt. The ship was later pulled off the reef to be towed to make repairs in St. Georges. Unfortunately, the damage was too severe, and she sank anyway before the vessel could reach the port. All 24 crew members were rescued without incident. The Minnie Breslauer was first salvaged by BW Walker and Company and the Lusher Brothers, who set up in Bermuda from Philadelphia between 1873 and 1874 with their salvage ship, the Gleana. During the salvage of the Minnie, the Gleana broke free and sank (see the Gleana wreck page on this website).
The wreck site is one mile off Horseshoe Bay on the South Shore in 40 to 65 feet of water. Still recognizable are the ship’s huge steam boiler, parts of the wheelhouse, the ship’s steering quadrant, a four-bladed propeller, and her rudder. The wreck lies on the edge of the reef with the bow in 40 feet of water, broken up and largely taken over by coral. Further down the reef, the boilers and parts of the engine still sit amidships. The rest of the ship is semi-intact, including the stern which sits in nearly 70 feet of water, along with the semi-intact rudder, quadrant blade and propeller still attached to the clearly defined stern of the ship.
The wreck was never lost and was always known as a fishing site. This is an extremely popular dive site, attracting dive operators who bring groups of divers sometimes twice daily during the summer season. Divers can travel the full length of the stern section underneath the ship, and the stern features the only piece of black coral known in Bermuda at such shallow depths. There are reports that in the 1980s a still-corked and drinkable bottle of port was found after a storm in the sand hole surrounding the wreck. As with all shipwrecks in Bermuda the site is protected and any artifacts discovered must be brought to the attention of the Custodian of Historic Wrecks (http://environment.bm/found-a-wreck) .
Location: 32°14'40.67"N, 64°48'31.32"W Length: 300 feet (91.5 meters) Depth: 65 feet (20 meters) Protected Area Radius - No Fishing: 500m