- Name: Rytterholm
- Type of vessel: general cargo
- Flag: Norway
- Date of sinking: 12 December 1976
- Cause: loss of stability, shifting of the load
- Location: San Amaro, A Coruña
- Diving level: high
- GALP territory: Gulf of Artabro
The boat of "El chino"
The Rytterholm was a centre-bridge ship with four holds, three forward and one aft. It was bound from Norway to Bangkok, Thailand, with 9,713 tons of fertilizers in sacks.
At 1:00 a.m. on the 12th, in the middle of a storm, it issued a message communicating that it had suffered a shift in its load. Given the visibility conditions and the sea conditions, it was decided to wait until daylight so as not to take any risks. At 7:30 a.m., a new sea surge caused a new shift in the load, reaching a heel of 40º and increasing.
By then, two fishing boats, the Red Cross of the Sea vessel Blanca Quiroga, and the pilot boat were in the area. The harbour tugs arrived at a quarter to nine, but any attempt to rescue the vessel was already futile. Its capsizing was imminent.
The loss was already irreversible and the crew members of the merchant ship were encouraged to jump into the water by the rescue boats so as to be picked up. The only casualty was the ship’s cook. Of Chinese nationality, advanced in age and reportedly very large, he flatly refused to leave the ship. He locked himself in his galley where he disappeared along with the ship at 9:30 am. A few days later his body was found floating near the O Seixo Branco point and, paradoxically, his death served to christen the shipwreck, due to this the shipwreck is popularly known as “the boat of El Chino” among fishermen and divers who frequent it.
The wreckage of the Rytterholm was the subject of several scrapping work, focusing on the recovery of the most profitable parts of the Rytterholm. The parts removed were limited to the load-bearing struts, motor shaft, propeller and certain parts of the machine.