OKA-18 wreck Terschelling
OKA-18 wreck Terschelling

The Wreck museum on Terschelling

The shipping routes near the Dutch Island Terschelling are notoriously dangerous many have ships sunk or ran to ground near the Island for ages. Local divers have salvaged many interning items from the wrecks, now displayed in the Wreck Museum. The museum has a series of exhibits from the islands most famous ship wreck a Soviet coaster named OKA-18.

Wreck Museum
Formerum Zuid 13
April to November all day

Visiting the Wreck museum

The Wreck Museum is located in the upper floor of an old farmhouse turned cafe in the small Terschelling village Formerum. All kind of ship and aircraft parts salvaged near the island are displayed outside the cafe. The atmosphere inside is cafe always nice, it is a good place to make a stop for some coffee or beers when cycling on the island. Guests can visit the museum for a small admission to be paid with the bartender. The museum has exhibits from the earlier periods that ships sailed the water around Terschelling. There are many items from the Soviet coaster OKA-18 as it stayed above the water for a while before it finally sunk. There is also a collection of Vodka bottles that Russian sailors threw overboard in the area of the island.

The wreck museum on Terschelling that is also a bar and restaurant

Entrance of the museum

Artefacts that divers recovered from the sunken Soviet OKA 18

Exhibits salvaged from the OKA-18

A collection of Vodka bottles found on the Terschelling beaches

Vodka bottles found on the beach

Sinking of the OKA-18

The OKA-18 was actually build in 1930 at the NSDM shipyard in Amsterdam. In 1962 it was sold to the Soviet Union to be used as cargo ship and was named OKA-18. On 22 January 1966 the OKA-18 collided with the Liberian ship FLORA-M North of Terschelling. The OKA-18 was heavily damaged and water was leaking in the ship. The Russian crew decided to ground it on the Terschelling beach near Formerum to save it from sinking. A Russian tugboat was on its way to salvage the ship and collect the Russian crew. The engine room was already filled with water however and the OKA-18 started to sink. The crew destroyed everything on board and boarded the Soviet Tugboat. Later that year the ship broke in two parts and was totally lost. One of the hoisting cranes called the “goal posts” by the locals managed to stay above the water until 1998 and became a familiar sight for bathing guests. Many items like the shipyard plate, spare anchor and many portholes were recovered from the wreck since 1976.

The Soviet coaster OKA 18 grounded on the coast near Terschelling

The OKA-18 just after the collision

Heavily damaged OKA f18 after the collision with a Liberian motor ship

The OKA-18 is heavily damaged

The OKA 18 is starting to sink down some months after it stranded

The OKA-18 is sinking

The OKA 18 months after it ran aground on the Terschelling coast

The OKA-18 seen from the beach

The cranes of the Russian OK 18 stayed above the water until 1998

The famous goal posts

Local divers have salvaged the shipyard plate of the Soviet OKA 18

Divers have found the shipyard plate

The OKA-18 in popular history

A Soviet ship sinking in front of a Dutch Island with the crew quickly picked up by a large Soviet Tuck boat taking place at height of the Cold War makes a good story that triggers the imagination. This combined with the goals posts that were visible from the beach for a long time makes the OKA-18 the best wreck of Terschelling. A popular Disco in the centre of Terschelling is named after the OKA-18 and has some paintings relating to small part of Soviet history on Terschelling.

Painted OKA 18 table in this case with a Soviet hammer and sickle

Table with hammer and sickle

Painting of the OKA on a terrace table outside the famous bar

Table with the OKA-18