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Scuba Diving in Wrecks of the Hispanic - Cuban and North American War of 1898. "COAL SHIP USS MERRIMAC".

Departure from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
COAL SHIP USS MERRIMAC - Scuba Diving in Wrecks of the Hispanic - Cuban and North American War of 1898. "COAL SHIP USS MERRIMAC".
from $32.00

General Information and Program Details

  • Duration: 2.00 hrs
  • Departure time: Variable dive schedules according to tide tables from Santiago de Cuba showing high and low tides of the bay.
  • Tour guide: Yes
  • Children are allowed: No
  • Languages spoken: Spanish and English
  • Location: Marina Marlin Punta Gorda. 1ra., Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. Tel: (+53 22) 69 1446.

Scuba Diving in Wrecks of the Hispanic - Cuban and North American War of 1898. "COAL SHIP USS MERRIMAC"

Archaeological Park of the Natural and Cultural Underwater Heritage Battle of Santiago de Cuba Declared a National Monument in 2015.

General Description

One of the groups of the Subaquatic Natural and Cultural Heritage with the greatest historical significance in the country is the Archaeological Park of the Subaquatic Natural and Cultural Heritage Battle of Santiago de Cuba, declared a National Monument in 2015.

It is a true privilege to enjoy today the immersions in these wrecks of the 19th century in front of the Sierra Maestra mountain range, in warm, transparent waters, in an environment of spectacular beauty and with a name as suggestive as the Caribbean Sea.

The place is made up of seven archaeological sites (Playa Siboney, Las Cuatro Bocas, Playa Mar Verde, Rancho Cruz - Buey Cabón, Ensenada de Juan González, Aserradero and Playa La Mula), where the wrecks of five Spanish and two North American ships linked to the conflict lie, and objects belonging to the ships, including masts, ironwork, part of the artillery and projectiles.

It covers a territorial extension of some 64,824 nautical miles, equivalent to some 120,051 km along the coast from Siboney beach, belonging to the municipality of Santiago de Cuba, to "La Mula" beach, referring to the municipality of Guamá.

The area of the coastal strip of the province of Santiago de Cuba was the scene of one of the most transcendental naval events in the history of mankind. This naval battle, which culminated in the sinking of the fleet of Vice Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete, put an end to Spanish colonial rule in America.

These sites are must-see for researchers, archaeologists, divers and tourists in general, not only because of their great historical value, but also because of the spectacularly beautiful surroundings where they have been found for more than a century of rest and biological activity, creating special ecosystems where the sessile fauna and marine flora have merged with the wrecks.

It is a privilege to know the universal history through these wrecks, witnesses of the events of this Naval War, undoubtedly a treasure of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, which is part not only of the History of Cuba, but of the Universal one.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE: "THE FOUR MOUTHS". Shipwreck: Great Ship "USS Merrimac".

  • Municipality: Santiago de Cuba
  • Site: Santiago de Cuba Bay, the shipwreck is located within the perimeter of the "Castillo del Morro" World Heritage Site.
  • The shipwreck "USS Merrimac" is located in the place known as "Las Cuatro Bocas", oriented from stern to bow in its imaginary line of the bay at 13 ° NNE, about 190 meters from the Ciudamar pier, 206 meters from Punta Churruca, 200 meters from Cayo Granma and 211 meters from Socapa. It also rests at various depths: from 23 meters from the stern and 19 meters from the bow.

Historical Background:

  • This vessel was purchased by the U.S. Navy in April 1898, and was renamed "USS Merrimac". It was part of the naval squadron as a coal supply vessel, it was commanded by Admiral William T. Sampson, who participated in the Cuban Spanish-American war.

  • When the conflict between the United States and Spain was declared, and with Admiral Sampson's flagship, the armored cruiser "New York", in Key West, the cable dispatches that arrived on board specified that Vice Admiral Cervera's Spanish fleet was anchored in the port of Santiago de Cuba.

  • The "USS Merrimac" departed on June 3, 1898, at four o'clock in the morning, at the narrow entrance of the bay of Santiago de Cuba, taking into account that Vice-Admiral Cervera was anchored in the port of Santiago de Cuba. Admiral Sampson proposed to Lieutenant Hobson, naval engineer, the excellent plan of sinking the "Merrimac" to block the exit of the port of Santiago de Cuba and thus prevent the departure of the Spanish ships and reduce the city with the least possible cost. A minimum command of seven men would be used to take advantage of the night to carry out the operation. The cargoes would be placed below the waterline and when they exploded they would flood the watertight tanks needed to quickly sink the "Merrimac" and leave it practically crossed in the narrow channel at the entrance to the Bay of Santiago de Cuba.
  • All that information is a story of dreams that comes true once you descend to the archaeological site. As you dive into the shipwreck, you will find obvious traces of the violent combat that will lead the magnificent coalman to his unfortunate end.


  • Name of shipwreck: 1894: "Solveig"; 1897: "USS Merrimac"
  • Type of vessel: Cargo ship adapted to Carbonero.
  • Launch date: 12 April 1898, by the US Navy.
  • Flag: United States.
  • Shipyard: Swan & Hunter, Wallsend, United Kingdom
  • Commander: Lieutenant Henrry Person Hobson Chief of Command.
  • Crew members: Only 7 men in command.
  • Length: 101 meters.
  • Beam: 18 meters.
  • Strut: 30 feet.
  • Draft: 8.31 meters.
  • Displacement: 4,976 tons.
  • Maximum speed: 14 knots.
  • Rudder: Aft, with blade outside the transom with shaft running to deck.
  • Shielding: No.
  • Deck Shielding: No, unarmored steel decks.
  • Barbets: No.
  • Type of bow: Ruffled.
  • Decks: One continuous steel and wood deck.
  • Machinery: English.
  • Type of machinery: 1 steam engine, with triple expansion.
  • Type of food: Mineral coal - X tons.
  • Power: X- CV with forced draught.
  • Boilers: German.
  • Propulsion: 2 propellers.
  • Mast: 2 masts with davit and a central chimney distributed at bow and stern.
  • Artillery: No.

Details of the excursion

  • Diving services included: Basic diving equipment, compressed air tank, weight belt.
  • You will have an internationally certified instructor-guide who will give you an informative briefing on the dive to be done.
  • Boat that takes you from the diving center to the diving points (in principle, the dives that leave from the marina of Punta Gorda will be done by diving boat).

Diving center: Marina Marlin Punta Gorda

Output capacity: 10 pax.

Distance to be covered in the excursion (round trip): 5 kms approximately.

Frequency: 1 daily departure according to the tide tables of Santiago de Cuba that show high and low tides and the meteorological conditions of the bay.

Degree of difficulty: High.

Approximate duration of the excursion: 1.30 hours approximately.


  • It is compulsory for clients to present their official diving certification.

  • For reasons of safety and protection of underwater heritage, customers must never directly touch the wreckage and must strictly follow the instructions given by the diving instructors.

TIPS: • We recommend that the client can bring their own diving mask. • Recommended: light clothing, swimsuit, towels, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and photographic camera. • The client can bring his complete diving equipment if he wants to. • We recommend that the client can bring his/her personal dive computer. • We recommend that the client can bring one or more bottles of mineral water to stay hydrated as well as light foods rich in protein or fruit.


  • Collective diving tour (1 dive)
    Tour in diving boat with professional diving instructor service in several languages and 1 dive.
    1 Adult
    (Daily departures)
    Discounts applied: