This Michigan Shipwreck Was Used by the Germans During World War II
A wrecked ship sits off the south shore of South Manitou Island.
Many Michiganders know of this.
Many Michiganders have visited.
But not as many know that it was once used by Germany.
During World War II, between the years 1941-1945, it was implemented as a cargo ship, transporting coal for the German navy.
The shipwreck is the SS Francisco Morazan.
Wreck Site says the ship was built in Hamburg, Germany in 1922 as the 'Arcadia'. The ship was sold in 1934 and renamed the 'Elbing'. In 1940, the ship was requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine for the specific purpose of carrying coal for Germany during World War II. During this time, the ship was shelled and damaged a few times and was finally seized by the British government in May 1945 and renamed 'Empire Congress'.
In 1946, the ship was designated to Norway and renamed 'Brunes'. Another sale to another Norwegian and the ship was again renamed as 'Skuld'. In 1948, the name was changed to 'Ringås'. In 1952-1953, the ship finally made its way to the Great Lakes, on its way to Muskegon and Port Huron. In 1958 the ship again changed hands and named 'Los Mayos' (some sites say 'Mayas').
Another sale in 1959 changed the name for the last time to the S.S. 'Francisco Morazan'.
As for the wreck, it was in October 1960, when the ship left Miami headed for Chicago. It left Chicago on November 28 and ran into fog that evening. Not long afterward, a snowstorm kicked in, snowblinding the crew, causing the ship to run aground just off South Manitou Island. It ran over the Walter L. Frost ship, which sank in 12 feet of water in 1903. The Morazan not only damaged the sunken Frost ship, but wrecked itself when it hit the ship (and rocks) in the process. And that is where it remains to this day.
So to go back to the original statement, yes...it was used by Germany during World War II. Even so, by 1960 it was not owned by the Germans and was not in the Great Lakes spying, as some would have you believe.
Take a look at some underwater photos below, and then see more pictures here.