Other Names: Melville Jacoby, Victoria, North Queen. Date of Sinking: March 13, 1961
Rig/Type: WWII Liberty Ship (Freighter) Cause of Sinking: Stranding
Length: 441' Breadth: 57' Tons: 7,176 Cargo: Wheat and beef
Built: 1944 by Walsh Kaiser Company of Providence, Rhode Island Location: Rocky Point, Palos Verdes
Hull Construction: Steel Depth: 0-25' Visibility: 5-40'

The Dominator gets pounded by surf, a few days after her stranding.


For video of the Dominator shortly after the wreck, click here (1.7M Windows media file)  

For video of the wreck from 1962 to 1969, showing the various stages of it breaking up, click here (2.0M Windows Media file) 


The Dominator stranded while enroute from Vancouver, B.C. to Los Angeles with a cargo of wheat and beef on March 13, 1961. For two anxious days, the crew stayed onboard in hopes of refloating the vessel.  However, the efforts of the Coast Guard and tugboats were unable to pull the Dominator into deeper water, and high swells and winds forced her higher onto the rocks.  On the 15th, hopes for saving the ship were given up and the crew left the ship.

The incident attracted hundreds of sightseers, eager to see the shipwreck.  Once the crew left the vessel, would be salvors attempted to board and claim the wreck, some of which had to be rescued from the stranded hulk.  During the auction, the hull and cargo were sold to different parties. Shortly thereafter, the two fought over access and how best to salvage their share, even at gunpoint.  At some point, Al Kidman began to salvage the wreck, adding more wrecks in process, including the Avalon, a LCM3, a crane and other machinery.


This photograph is of unknown origin and date. However, it supports stories about two salvage barges employed in the salvage of the Dominator that were said to have later floated off and sunk.  A small landing craft believed to be the LCM3 lies in the foreground, and another barge lies awash to the right.  Note that a crane the barge and maybe the very same one now visible on shore.

Diving the Dominator

The Dominator lies off Pt. Vicente in a shallow area with heavy kelp. Despite its recent wrecking, the Dominator's hull has long ago been pounded into smaller pieces.  All that remains of her hull is the forepeak of her hull which was thrown up on the beach.  Her triple-expansion engine remains upright and breaks the surface of the water during low tide or high surf'/swell.  A few large pieces of the wreck remain, some of which have recognizable features, such as those shown below.

Given the dense kelp and rocky bottom, the area is home to variety of marine life and a number of fishing boats can be found on the outskirts of the wreck on any given day. Similarly, the area hosts a number of lobsters and floats from lobster traps can be seen on the surface during lobster season.


A ladder remains intact inside a piece of the hull.

Laying in shallow water, the wreck can be quite picturesque with good visibility.

A diver explores the wreckage.

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