Shipwrecks in Mauritania – Disappearing Ship Graveyard in Nouadhibou

I am so glad we got to see the shipwrecks in Nouadhibou, Mauritania before they’re gone. This ship graveyard was once the largest of its kind, but the new government is finally cleaning it up.

This video was taken in November of 2018. I don’t know how many rusted out shipwrecks remain in and around Nouadhibou, if any, but we’re happy to share these here with you. With a guide, this was easy to get to by car, only a half-hour drive outside of the city, or so.

Nouadhibou is very quiet as cities go. In fact, that can be said for most of Mauritania. It’s still developing and being located where it is, the process is slow. One of the issues is that they don’t make or grow much for themselves so everything is imported. That means that not only are things expensive, but supplies can be hard to get.

If you need a supply of anything, bring it with you. Don’t expect to find products you know in Mauritania. This applies to medicines as well.

This was one of our first stops in Mauritania. It can be a challenging, but fascinating, country to travel in. We did it on our own, which sometimes became a real adventure. Everything in Mauritania is sort of in the middle of nowhere, or in the middle of the Sahara Desert, if you prefer.

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If you’re not up for roughing it, I’d highly recommend looking into a tour. An interesting trip all around.

In fact, have a look at the entire Mauritania Series:

Part 1 – Shipwrecks to Camel Treks – from Immigration to Nouadhibou

Part 2 – Ben Amera and Aisha – Mauritania’s Monoliths of the Sahara

Part 3 – Camel Trekking in the Sahara Desert

Part 4 – Chinguetti’s Old Library and a Medical Emergency in the Middle of Nowhere


What is the Ship Graveyard of Mauritania and where is it located?

The Ship Graveyard is a collection of abandoned and rusting ships located on the coast of Nouadhibou in Mauritania. The graveyard is made up of hundreds of ships, many of which have been abandoned there for decades.

Why were hundreds of ships abandoned off the coast of Mauritania?

The Ship Graveyard in Nouadhibou is a result of a combination of factors, including the economic downturn in the fishing and ship-breaking industries in the region, as well as the lack of proper infrastructure, a corrupt government and regulations for the disposal of old ships.

How long has the Ship Graveyard of Mauritania been in existence?

The Ship Graveyard has been in existence for several decades, but the number of ships in the graveyard has grown significantly in recent years. The ships have been accumulating since the 1960s, but the number increased exponentially since the 1990s.

What is the environmental impact of Nouadhibou’s Ship Graveyard?

The Ship Graveyard has had a significant environmental impact on the surrounding area. The rusting ships are leaking toxic chemicals and pollutants into the surrounding waters and air, which can harm marine life and human health. The graveyard also poses a navigational hazard to ships passing through the area.

Are there any plans to clean up or remove the ships from the Ship Graveyard?

There have been some efforts to clean up the Ship Graveyard, but the task is massive and costly. The Mauritanian government, international organizations and private companies have made some attempts to remove and dismantle the ships, but it’s still a work in progress. The situation is complicated by the lack of proper infrastructure and regulations for the disposal of old ships. As of 2018 the government was actively selling off the abandoned ships to anyone to committed to dismantling them properly for scrap.

Video Transcript

You’re looking at several shipwrecks, three on the screen right now, and we are in Nouadhibou, Mauritania.

We came looking for this one shipwreck that’s supposed to be all Hollywood-looking and that, but they’ve been cleaning up the beaches.

At one point there were actually several hundred, three or four hundred ships out here that were wrecked because the government was a little bit corrupt and they were letting other companies and that just dump their old ships here.

There aren’t as many now but there are still some incredible shipwrecks out here.

Team Hazard

Old, fat and disabled and traveling the world anyway. Join Trina and Tim as they wander around the planet bringing you honest stories about the people and places they encounter.

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