On February 16, 1986, Mikhail Lermontov was cruising in New Zealand for the CTC cruise company. On that day she left Picton
for the Marlborough Sounds, carrying mostly elderly Australian passengers, under the charge of The Picton pilot, Captain Don
Jamieson. His presence, and his knowledge of the area, should have assured the safety of MS Mikhail Lermontov.
Captain Jamison proceeded towards Cape Jackson, hugging the shoreline to give the Australian passengers a good view of the
area. About one mile from the cape, Jamieson made the decision to take MS Mikhail Lermontov through the passage. A Russian
officer tried to discourage Jamieson, but the harbour master assured him it would be fine.
At 5.37 pm, travelling at 15 knots, Mikhail Lermontov struck rocks about 5.5 m below the waterline on her port side. Water
poured up into the decks, and the seriously damaged ship limped towards Port Gore. Jamieson hoped he could beach the ship to
stop it floating out to sea. Jamieson beached Mikhail Lermontov successfully, but lowering the anchors to keep her there was
impossible as the electricity in the ship had failed. As a result, the ship drifted into deeper waters. Water-tight doors were
broken open by the pressure of the sea water gushing into the ship. Mikhail Lermontov was doomed.
MS Mikhail Lermontov rests where she sank, lying on her starboard side. One of the biggest diveable ship wrecks in the world
and one of the best. The dives can be as challenging as you want to make them, ranging from easy 12 to 18m dives around the
wreck, to decompression dives to depths of 36m. It is possible to swim inside the ship with the correct training. Penetration
while remaining in sight of the light requires a Wreck Specialty course and anything further inside requires Advanced Wreck