World War One shipwreck revealed

The SS Chirripo, which sank in 1917 off Black Head after she struck a mine

From Carrick Times

The team led by Dr Ruth Plets, School of Environmental Sciences at Ulster University, captured data about the SS Chirripo, which sank in 1917 after striking a mine.

The researchers, employing the new multi-beam system (EM2040) on board the Marine Institute’s Celtic Voyager, also surveyed the SS Polwell, which was torpedoed in 1918 northeast of Lambay Island and the RMS Leinster, which sank in 1918 after being torpedoed off Howth Head when over 500 people lost their lives.

“We were able to capture the most detailed images of the entirety of the wrecks ever. Some of the wrecks, which are too deep to be dived on, have not been seen in 100 years.

So this is the first time we can examine what has happened to them, during sinking and in the intervening 100 years, and try to predict their future preservation state,” explained Dr Plets.

“We moved away from traditional survey strategies by slowing the vessel right down to allow us to get many more data points over the wreck, with millions of sounding per wreck.

With the visibility conditions in the Irish Sea, no diver or underwater camera could ever get such a great overview of these wrecks.”

The project is carried out to coincide with WWI centenary commemorations.

The next step is to use the data collected to create 3D models which can be used for archaeological research, heritage management and dissemination of these otherwise inaccessible sites to the wider public.

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