John Beames

Diver finds remnants of French ship that sank in 1875

From Subhashish Mohanty


A French cargo ship, Veleda, sank off the Orissa coast some 133 years ago, even before the Titanic sank in 1912.

Nobody had bothered to trace the Veleda till December 31, when a diver almost touched it. While the state government has slapped a case against him, a Hollywood filmmaker is planning a movie on the ship.
The 250ft long and 50ft wide ship, carrying liquor, wine, food grains, sugar and other goods from Paris, sunk near Hukitola Island, about 140 km from here as a severe cyclone struck the area.

The ship's captain failed to anchor the ship and it sank.

The ship's crew was buried at a cemetery near a lighthouse, wrote John Beames, Cuttack collector from 1875 to 1878, in his autobiography Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian.

Scuba-diver Sabir Bux, 42, decided to find the ship on the last day of 2008.

He and some friends went to the island, crossing the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, and with some effort managed to trace the ship that sank in 1875.