old wreck

Govt plans to recover centuries-old sunken ship in Mentawai

The Jakarta Post


The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry is planning to lift the wreckage of an ancient Chinese ship, which historians estimate sunk between the 15th and 17th Centuries, off the coast of West Sumatra's Mentawai Islands.

The wreck was found shortly after the quake-triggered tsunami that struck Mentawai in October last year.

“A permit to lift the sunken ship off the waters of South Pagai, Mentawai, is currently being processed in Jakarta,” West Sumatra Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Agency chief Yosmeri said in Padang on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

“A fairly large amount of funds and some special equipment will be required to lift the ship because of its position, at a depth of 25 meters below the surface,” he said.

Yosmeri said the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry in Jakarta would appoint a party to manage the operation.

According to a previous survey, the ship was about 20 meters in length and contained Chinese ceramics from the 13th Century.

Yosmeri said it was the first ship of its kind found by a local fisherman, and the exact location was currently being kept secret to prevent theft.