Coral gives up link to maritime saga

The Cato

By Manuel Mitternacht - Smh

The legendary wreck of a British cargo ship that sank while sailing in convoy with Matthew Flinders 200 years ago has been discovered off the Australian coast.

Maritime archaeologists have made the claim after last week discovering a ship's cannon embedded in a reef in the Coral Sea off North Queensland.

It is thought to belong to the Cato, which sank in the area after running aground in 1803 en route to India.

Expedition leader Kieran Hosty, of the National Maritime Museum, said it was significant to Australia's maritime history.

''Very few colonial trading vessels have been found in Australian waters; this is just one of a handful,'' he said.

Five expeditions had visited the coral outcrop, known as Wreck Reef, in the past 45 years but failed to find where the Cato went down.

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Australia museum

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