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THE STOLT DAGALI WRECK NEW JERSEY

It’s only a chunk of a ship, but this piece has good structure that attracts all forms of life for Jersey wreck and pelagic crews
By Chris Lido
THE STOLT DAGALI WRECK NEW JERSEY

Laying 18 miles east of Point Pleasant, New Jersey half of the Stolt Dagali a 583- foot, 19,150 ton Norwegian steel hulled tanker lies at the bottom of the Atlantic and attracts thousands of sinker droppers each year. It lies in what local divers and anglers call Wreck Valley, which also contains the popular wrecks of the Algol, Lizzie D and Yankee. The Stolt’s stern is a top sea bassing and ling spot and in colder times attracts cod and pollock inshore. In the late spring and summer it’s a great spot to set up a shark drift close to home.

In November 1964 while carrying a cargo of vegetable and coconut oil from Philadelphia to Newark, N.J., the Stolt Dagali collided due to dense fog with the 629 foot, Israel passenger luxury liner S.S. Shalom, which was bound for the Caribbean and sailing recklessly through the fog. The Shalom’s bow crashed into and sliced through the Stolt Dagali’s port side sheering off her stern. The Dagali’s 145-foot stern sank immediately killing 19 crew members instantly. The bow section, which stayed afloat due to her watertight compartments, was towed back to the port of New York and several crew members survived.

Today the stern rests in 130 feet of water, with its highest point at a depth of just 65-55 feet. This is just under what is considered safe diving depth and divers love the sheer uprising of the wreck-so do the bottom fish. For fish and divers, the wreck is simply stunning to observe up close and the waters surrounding it offer good visibility usually between 30-50 feet. The wreck itself lies to starboard and is older with lots of deterioration, covered with an array of mussels and anemones. However with the majority of it still intact, it attracts all sorts of bottom fish as well as pelagics over the top where there is good relief there.

Double anchoring off the wreck with a pair of Danforths, this piece is a great option for near shore and smaller boats who are interested in picking up some school cod, ling of course, sea bass and tog. Also divers have reported seeing a lot of monkfish at this wreck site. There are also a ton of bergalls to weed through, so be prepared to go through some bait. It is a place frequented by divers, party boats and charter boats alike and can be a good intermediate run when the weather precludes long jaunts to 50 or 100 mile wrecks.

Jigging and baiting with high-low rigs festooned with clams is the way to go when looking for a jolt on the Stolt. This summer there are plenty of day tips as well as some night wrecking trips making solid catches of ling, winter flounder and squid at night while anchoring on wrecks like the Stolt. It produces year-round and if not too crowded is worth a few drops for you private boaters as well. What is remarkable about this ship is that after being towed back to port, she was refitted with a new stern and continued to sail until just recently when it was decommissioned.

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