The Cape’s west coast has been a busy shipping lane for several centuries and the rough seas have claimed countless ships and lives. Dassen Island’s lighthouse, reputedly the most isolated manned lighthouse on the South African coast, was built in 1893 and stands on the southern and highest point of the island. Nevertheless, the island remains a danger to ships and small craft, and several rusting and rotting shipwrecks litter its coastline.
The 1994 sinking of the Apollo sea. A bulk ore carrier near Dassen Island and the resultant oil spill caused environmental damage to the island and threatened its penguin population.