"Brenha" was a trawl fishing vessel, built in 1969. She was 32m long, 7.22m broad and 3.55m deep.
The vessel sailed from Leix?es harbour on January 23rd 1996, at 11pm, en route to northern Spain with her crew of 14 men and her Captain Jo?o Rebelo da Silva.
Weather and sea conditions were rough, with heavy rain, strong winds and high waves.
Minutes after leaving port, just out of Mindelo Village, she hit Guilhada Rock, which made a hole in her hull.
The crew sent their first SOS at 11.30pm.
They were saved by a smaller fishing vessel, named "O Desterrado". When help arrived there was not much to do other than save Brenha's crew, as the vessel was full of water and doomed. There were no victims to regret thanks to David Leoc?dio, captain of "O Desterrado", who fought against the storm to save those fishermen and bring them all back home, alive and well.
Brenha sunk close to shore on January 4th 1996, at 00.30am.
The wreck rests in 27m, on a sandy seabed with her keel firmly settled on a rock. She lies on her starboard, pointing west. Only the hull remains intact, because, when she sunk, the vessel rolled over on the seabed until she hit a rock where she came to rest. The mast and the antennas are gone and the bridge damage looked as if it was trod on. In 2003 the bridge structure disappeared and left in her place a hole that leads inside the wreck.
It is possible to penetrate the wreck, however, great care is required as there are still fishing nets and loosing lines inside. This is a recent wreck but it is already full of marine life, turning this once fishing vessel into an artificial reef.
(Reproduced with permission of the author)
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