Finding ‘The Titanic of the Golden Gate’

By January 23, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

^ Image: “CodaOctopus 3-D Echoscope sonar profile view of SS City of Rio De Janeiro” courtesy of Coda Octopus/NOAA via Accessed 17 Dec 2014

Historic shipwreck SS City of Rio de Janeiro, an immigrant steamship lost over a century ago in San Francisco in what many consider to be the worst maritime disaster in the city, has been located by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) and its partners.

‘The Bay Area Titanic’
In February 1901, the SS City of Rio de Janeiro struck rocks during a foggy morning, sinking quickly and claiming the lives of 128 out of 210 passengers and crew on board. Among the fatalities were Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and the US Consul General of Hong Kong who was traveling with his family, all of whom were lost in the tragic sinking.

The Expedition
The discovery of the shipwreck is a result of a two-year study conducted by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program, in an effort to document shipwrecks in the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The program was aided by considerable contributions from Hibbard Inshore and Bay Marine Services, who provided a vessels and crew for research, and the use of Coda Octopus’s 3D Echoscope® sonar.

The wreck, located in mud at 287 feet of water, was captured in incredibly detailed sonar images revealed last December 10th.

Ships like City of Rio de Janeiro may be long lost, but they are an important part of the United States’ rich history of diversity. Many Americans who trace their roots to the Far East region in the 19th and 20th centuries can credit immigrant ships like City of Rio de Janeiro for bringing their ancestors to US shores. It is truly unfortunate that the ship had sank with so many fatalities, claiming new lives cut tragically short. But efforts by NOAA and its partners to locate and document it highlight their importance as part of American immigrant history.

It is reported that aside from this historic find, there are hundreds of other wrecks around the Golden Gate Bridge. There is definitely more to locate and document, and we at Kemplon Engineering wish NOAA and its partners more success in their efforts to preserve and share our country’s maritime heritage.

^ Bever, Lindsey. “Maritime mystery solved: ‘Bay Area’s Titanic’ found near Golden Gate Bridge.” Washington Post, 12 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014.
^ Gannon, Megan. “Golden Gate’s Deadliest Shipwreck Located.”, 11 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014.
^ Hetter, Katia. “First images of ‘Titanic of the Golden Gate’ revealed.” CNN, 12 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014.
^ “NOAA, partners reveal first images of historic San Francisco shipwreck, SS City of Rio de Janeiro.” National Marine Sanctuaries, 10 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014.
^ Prigg, Mark. “’Titanic of the Golden Gate’ discovered: 3D scans reveal first images of boat which sank off San Francisco in 1901, killing 128 immigrants on board.” Mail Online, 12 Dec 2014. Web. 17 Dec 2014.