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nautical news and shipwreck discoveries


  • Never before seen footage of the Titanic

    RMS Titanic

    By Phillip Nieto - Yahoo News

    Never-before-seen footage of the legendary RMS Titanic showed the wreckage in the highest available 8k resolution.

    OceanGate, a commercial expedition group, took the footage this year and released a one-minute clip of the 8,000 resolution of the sunken British passenger liner.

    The 110-year-old ship was found approximately 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland, Canada, and 2.4 below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The group charges each guest $250,000 to take a tour of the wreckage via a submersible. Previously, OceanGate has completed two expeditions, with a third one scheduled for 2023.

    The footage provided by the team is the highest quality video ever taken of the world's most popular sunken vessel. "The amazing detail in the 8k footage will help our team of scientists and maritime archeologists characterize the decay of the Titanic more precisely as we capture new footage in 2023 and beyond.

    Capturing this 8K footage will allow us to zoom in and still have 4K quality which is key for large screen and immersive video projects. Even more remarkable are the phenomenal colors in this footage," said Stockton Rush, president of OceanGate Expeditions, in a statement.

    The company claims that each expedition is accompanied by a crew of historians, scientists, and dive experts. The footage shows the ship's bow, portside anchor, hull number one, a 200-pound anchor chain, cargo hold, and bronze capstan. Vivid images of the Titanic's decaying railings can also be seen.

    The group hopes to use their footage to determine the ship's decay rate and assist archeologists in studying the wreckage.

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  • Long lost sunken treasure returns to Indonesia

    Tek Sing (Teec Necum) shipwrecks artefacts

    From Australian Government

    Hundreds of ceramics illegally removed from a historic shipwreck have been returned to Indonesia.

    333 ceramics from the Tek Sing shipwreck were returned by the Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for the Arts in a special handover ceremony at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra. 

    The Tek Sing, a Chinese junk ship, sank in Indonesian waters in 1822 with great loss of life. The shipwreck was discovered in 1999 and its contents were protected under the cultural property laws of Indonesia.

    Our Movable Cultural Heritage team was notified of individuals selling Tek Sing ceramics online. 

    The objects were recovered with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police, Western Command, and assessed by experts from the Maritime Archaeology Department at the Western Australian Museum. The ceramics were formally seized under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 in May 2022. 

    The ceramics include bowls, tea cups and other dishes fired in the kilns of Dehua, China.

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  • Shipwrecks

    Cultural relics are salvaged by Chinese research vessels Explore 1

    From Global Times

    Chinese research vessels Explore 1 and Explore 2 have discovered 66 ancient relics among the wreckage of three ships in the north area of the South China Sea, the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences recently revealed.

    The newly discovered relics include porcelain fragments, redware pottery and bronze coins. The treasures were found on the seabed among three shipwrecks located 2,000 to 3,000 meters below the surface.  

    This  depth marks a new deep sea milestone for China's underwater archaeology as the previous record for an underwater excavation by Chinese archeologists was 1,000 meters below the surface. 

    "This puts us on the same level as other countries that are advanced in the field of underwater archaeology. There are really not that many countries in the world that can carry out such deep sea archaeology," Cui Yong, head of the team that excavated the famous Song Dynasty (960-1279) Nanhai No.1 shipwreck in the South China Sea, told media. 

    Unmanned deep submersible technology was a significant advancement introduced to assist in the latest underwater investigation. 

    The submersible is capable of using sonar to locate objects as small as a grain of rice and can cover an area of around 100 square kilometers a day. 


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  • Centuries old shipwreck coins to be returned to WA

    By Marina Trajkovich - 9News

    Centuries-old coins from the infamous Batavia shipwreck will be returned to the Western Australian Museum, 30 years after they were stolen from the sea floor. The four coins, dating back to the 1500s and 1600s had been aboard the infamous 17th-century Dutch ship before they were taken by an inquisitive diver.

    Principal Heritage Officer from Western Australian Museum Celeste Jordan said the heritage artefacts would now be returned to their rightful home after the diver was denied a permit to keep them.

    "The person, now living in Queensland was unaware they had breached Australian law and recently sought a permit to keep the coins," Jordan said.

    "Following a discussion with Commonwealth officers, the person was cooperative and agreed to surrender the coins."

    The Batavia is among the country's most renowned shipwrecks, known for its macabre history and what happened after it crashed into Western Australia's Morning Reef, on the Houtman Abrolhos chain of islands.

    "The Batavia was on her maiden voyage when it sank in the early hours of 4 June 1629 with more than 300 people on board," Jordan said. 

    "She was the flagship for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and one of four ships owned by that company – including Zeewick, Vergulde Draeck, and Zuytdorp – that sank off the coast of Western Australia."

    Jordan said the ship had been on a spice mission but was also carrying cargo of silver coins and antiquities belonging to renowned Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens, which were to be sold to an Indian Mogul ruler.

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  • The forgotten shipwreck of the ‘Spanish Titanic’

    RMS Principe de Asturias

    From Naira Galarraga Gortazar - El Pais

    Isidor Prenafeta Siles, 87, still remembers the after-dinner conversations of his youth, in 1940s Spain, when his grandfather would recount the thrilling tale of the shipwreck, if there was company to listen.

    “The story of the ship would come up here and there in conversation, but only when guests asked him about it,” he remembers, speaking on the phone from his home in Castelldefels, a coastal town on the outskirts of Barcelona.

    “I would ask him about it, too,” says Siles, a retired engineer and a writer who made his living building boats. His grandfather, Gregorio Siles Peña, would recount in gripping detail the fatal wreck of the Príncipe de Asturias, the Spanish passenger liner that sank off the coast of Brazil, on the night of Carnaval, in 1916. Siles Peña knew the details because he was there: he survived the catastrophe.

    Peña worked as an electrician on the ship, which was launched just two weeks after a similarly fated, if more famous, passenger liner — the RMS Titanic — struck an iceberg and capsized in the North Atlantic Ocean on the night on April 14, 1912.

    The pride of the Spanish merchant navy, built in Scotland, the Príncipe de Asturias departed Barcelona on February 17, 1916, bound for Buenos Aires, on what would be her last and final voyage.

    More than a century later, the tragedy of the “Spanish Titanic” (or the “Brazilian Titanic,” depending on who you ask) is better known in Brazil, where it sank, than in Spain, where it set sail. The remains of the shipwreck, which claimed more lives than any other in the history of Latin America’s largest country, still lie in the depths of the South Atlantic.

    March 5, 1916: The night of Carnaval, and the last night before the Príncipe’s scheduled stopover in Brazil. First-class passengers are enjoying their own carnival celebration, dancing the Charleston to a live orchestra on the 150-meter-long ship, which in addition to a dancefloor, offered its wealthier guests a library, a sauna and a smoking lounge.

    Registered passengers totaled 654, including 193 crew members, but historians estimate that somewhere in the realm of 1,000 additional, clandestine travelers were also aboard: European refugees fleeing the devastation of World War I, packed into the ship’s hold, together with a slew of delinquents of all shapes and stripes — men and women in search of a new life in America.

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  • 'Ship of Gold' shipwreck unvexeiled in Reno

    • On 28/07/2022

    From SS Central America

    By Jenny Kayne - Reno Gazette Journal

    A mysterious daguerreotype of a woman and a pair of jeans possibly made by Levi Strauss himself are among nearly 1,000 Gold Rush-era treasures recovered from the fabled "Ship of Gold" that will be on display in Reno this week. 

    Since their recovery between the late 1980s and 2014, the remarkable findings extracted from the sunken S.S. Central America have been in secret storage, but this week begins a national tour, which will start at the National Antique Bottle Convention from July 28 through 31 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

    This is the first public exhibition of the artifacts, which will be auctioned off later this year. 

    Among the notable recovered items are the lid to the oldest known Wells Fargo treasure shipment box; 1857 clothing, including a pair of the earliest known Gold Rush-era canvas work pants jeans with a button fly that may have been made by Strauss in his early years in business; and jewelry made from California Gold Rush "mother lode" native gold in quartz as gemstones, according to Fred Holabird, president of Holabird Western Americana Collections in Reno. 


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  • Ultra-rare 13th century shipwreck in the UK

    he Mortar Wreck was carrying ornate gravestones, among other cargoes

    From Maritime Executive

    A 13th century medieval shipwreck has been granted the highest level of government protection in the UK in hopes of protecting a national historic treasure.

    The Mortar Wreck, which was discovered in Poole Bay in Dorset in 2020, is among three shipwrecks that have been given government protection status by the Secretary of State for Culture based on the advice of Historic England. 

    The remains of the medieval ship were discovered by diver Trevor Small, who has operated diving charters for the past 30 years. Tree ring dating of the wreck indicates that the timbers used to construct the hull are from Irish oak trees felled between 1242-1265, during the reign of King Henry III.

    The survival of 13th-century vessels is extremely rare, and prior to the discovery, there were no known wrecks of seagoing ships from the 11th to the 14th century in English waters. 

    “Very few 750-year-old ships remain for us to be able to see today and so we are extremely lucky to have discovered an example as rare as this and in such good condition. A combination of low-oxygenated water, sand and stones has helped preserve one side of the ship and the hull is clearly visible,” said Tom Cousins, Maritime Archaeologist at Bournemouth University.

    The ship was carrying two gothic gravestones carved of Purbeck marble, a limestone quarried locally in Dorset. Other finds include a large cauldron for cooking soup, a smaller cauldron, which would have once had a long handle for heating water, and mugs covered in concretion, the hard solid mass that forms over underwater objects over time.

    The other two exceptionally well-preserved shipwrecks which have been designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 are the 16th century Shingles Bank Wreck NW96 and 17th century Shingles Bank Wreck NW68. Both were discovered off the Isle of Wight by divers Martin Pritchard and Dave Fox.

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  • Unopened bottles of wine discovered on a royal ship

    Brothers Lincoln Barnwell (left) and Julian Barnwell measure a cannon on the Gloucester.

    From Madeleine Muzdakis - My Modern Met

    Shipwrecks have long inspired storytellers and historians. For treasure hunters, discovering sunken jewels or relics is a thrilling holy grail. For historians, however, finding a piece of history frozen in place is the true treasure.

    Off the coast of England, the discovery and excavation of the famous HMS Gloucester offers an exciting new window into royal and maritime life in the 17th century. Among the artifacts discovered in the “time capsule” are unopened bottles of wine, purchased for a prince and his crew 340 years ago.

    The HMS Gloucester was built in 1654 for the English navy. A 50-gun warship, it was later commissioned to carry James Stuart, the Duke of York—the heir to the throne—to Scotland to fetch his wife and daughter back to England.

    The duke was a Catholic heir to a protestant throne only recently rescued from the jaws of republicanism. Bringing his pregnant wife to birth in England offered a conciliatory path forwards as the health of his older brother King Charles I was in decline. The duke and his noble entourage, as well as many crew, boarded the ship and set sail north in 1682.

    Unfortunately, the sandy waters near Yarmouth were difficult to navigate. Trusting his experience in the navy, the duke delayed and argued with the crew until it was too late. Only he, as well as a few others, were able to escape the sinking vessel after it ran aground.

    About 200 are thought to have perished. James, however, lived on to become James VII and II, one of Britain's most unpopular kings. He was eventually deposed by his own daughter and her husband in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

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