The Drottningen af Swerige, or ‘Queen of Sweden’, is a Swedish East Indiaman wrecked in 1745.

The ship had left Gothenberg in Sweden and was on route to China when it hit a rock at the southern entrance to Lerwick harbour, Shetland and sank. The wreck was partially salvaged at the time of its wrecking and subsequently in the 1970’s, 90’s and more recently in 2016. The site is a well-known dive site enjoyed by local and visiting divers.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has advised that the wreck meets the criterion of national importance for designation as a Historic MPA. It is arguably the best-preserved known wreck of a vessel of the Swedish East Indiaman in Scottish waters.

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The Drottningen af Swerige ['Queen of Sweden'] and the Stockholm [HU41NW 8001] left Gothenburg on 9 January 1745, passing through the Skaggerak to be wrecked (in separate locations but on the same day) on the Shetland Islands in strong ENE winds. After witnessing the wreck of the Stockholm, the Drottningen sailed upwind for the shelter of Bressay Sound, only to strike a rock and sink in less than 10 fathoms [18.3m] of water on 12 January. No lives were lost in either ship. The next morning only scattered wreckage could be seen along the shore of the South Ness of Lerwick. The salvage goods recovered were sold at roup and are listed in the papers of the Vice-Admiral Court; little of the cargo was recovered.

In view of the presence of lead bars (used as ballast), the salvage of the Drottningen was attempted by William Elliot, Robert Hunter and Co, the (French) Eschauzier Brothers and George Innes and Co. During the summer of 1746, Robert Hunter and George Innes recovered 154 and 266 bars or pigs of lead respectively, while the Eschauziers recovered 1330 leads bars, four anchors and a gun of unstated size, all the property of the Swedish Asiatick Co.

The premium for the insurance of the Drottningen was only paid on 30 April 1745, the Royal Exchange Insurance in London paid out to the extent of 90% of the loss in November of the same year. Neither the captain (Carl Johan Treutiger), the first pilot (Carl Gustaf Lehman) nor the supercargoes were held to blame, and all made further voyages for the company.

The Drottningen was built in Stockholm for the Chinese trade of the Swedish East India Company, and left the yard in September 1741. With dimensions of about 147ft (44.8m) by 39ft (11.9m) and 18.5ft (5.6m), she weighed 950 tons and was the biggest ship built for the company since its inception in 1731. She carried 130 men and 32 guns, and cost 152,480 silver daler (12,500 pounds sterling).

The wreck was rediscovered by J-C Joffre on 16 October 1979 in 50ft [15m] depth of water, being distinguished by the many lead ingots lying in a hollow in the rocky bottom. The remains lie within the limits of Lerwick harbour and detailed study ('excavation') of about 5% of its area has revealed over 350 artifacts, which were recovered for conservation. The include cannon, lead ingots, complete wine bottles, gin jars, navigational instruments, pewter plate and china, and a wooden block.