The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is a 501 (c) (3) accredited, not-for-profit organization existing to research, interpret, and exhibit the maritime history of Florida and the Caribbean in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, and stimulate inquiry.

Archaeology & Research / Guerrero and Nimble

The Pirate Slave Ship Guerrero & HMS Nimble, 1827

The Spanish pirate slave ship Guerrero and the British Navy schooner HMS Nimble both struck near Carysfort Reef in December of 1827. Guerrero was originally built in 1813 as the US privateer James Monroe, but by the 1820’s it was in Havana and under the command of the Cuban pirate Jose Gomez. Gomez renamed the vessel Pepe, then San Jose, and in 1827, Guerrero. Gomez and his crew of 90 used the brig to plunder other ships as they sailed to West Africa to acquire captives for the slave trade. The slave trade was illegal by the time, and Nimble was patrolling the Bahama Channel for outlaw, Cuba-bound slavers. After identifying Guerrero as suspicious, Nimble started a pursuit, which soon escalated into a gun battle. As they made their way westward, towards Florida, night fell. In the dark, distracted by the excitement of the chase, Guerrero sailed headlong into Carysfort Reef. Nimble, close behind, tried to avoid the same fate but struck anyway. The Guerrero was a total loss. Nimble’s crew jettisoned iron ballast, shot, and a cannon to re-float the grounded schooner. Despite some damage, Nimble got off the reef and was soon repaired.

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