On 16 February 1986 a Russian cruise line, the Mikhail Lermontov, struck rocks off Cape Jackson in the Marlborough Sounds. The ship carried 408 mostly elderly Australian passengers and a crew of 330. Although the ship drifted and eventually sank in Port Gore, only one Russian sailor died. This Lynton Diggle-directed documentary was shot during the following months and the camera followed dive teams into the black depths of the vessel. Their difficult task in hazardous conditions was to salvage oil from the wreck and preserve Marlborough's coastline.
We felt this enormous bang and the ship really shuddered and you could feel it scraping along something. And we all looked at each other and went ‘Oh my God,’ you know, what’s happened?– Passenger
Made in association with Television New Zealand