At one time serving as an ocean liner and another time as a luxury cruise ship, the MS Mikhail Lermontov was a Russian behemoth whose future should have been long and prosperous. She met her tragic end one chilly night in February 1986, at the hands of a captain who trusted his own knowledge of the passage over the charted course, driving the massive ship into a rocky reef just 18 feet below the surface of the shores of New Zealand’s South Island. Although the captain tried to beach the Mikhail Lermontov to avoid her being lost to the depths, the ship’s electrical systems had been destroyed by the collision, preventing the anchors from being deployed and allowing her to drift further out to sea. The entire ship sank within 20 minutes of the last passenger being rescued, and only one crew member fatality resulted from the incident. The Mikhail Lermontov has since become a world-renown dive site, with dives ranging from 12 to 36 meters, and accommodates all levels of experience, from beginners to highly trained decompression divers. Check out this footage of the new life that has been forged through the remnants of tragedy.
Image via John Rostron