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The Shipwrecks and Treasure Thread
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 08-08-2010 08:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although this article is really a Forgotten History about the founder of the British Museum, Sir Hans Sloane, it does also contain an interesting account of Caribbean treasure hunting in the 17th century, using a 'new-fangled diving bell'. Enjoy:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10896746
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PostPosted: 07-10-2010 07:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spanish Navy finds 100 shipwrecks in hunt for treasure
Spanish Navy vessels looking for sunken treasure off the country's coast have found about 100 possible shipwrecks.
Published: 6:30AM BST 07 Oct 2010

Two minesweepers and other vessels, on a mission to protect the country's historical heritage from private salvagers, located the sites in Atlantic waters off the southwestern city of Cadiz as part of a campaign that began Sept. 8 and is due to last two months, the Culture Ministry said.

Spain wants to avoid a repeat of a saga that began in 2007 when Tampa, a Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration, found a sunken Spanish galleon and salvaged from it an estimated $500 million in silver coins and other artifacts.

That ship, the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, was sunk by the British navy southwest of Portugal in 1804 while sailing back from South America with more than 200 people on board. A US court ruled last year the loot belongs to Spain but the company has appealed and is still holding the treasure in the US.

So far, 15 of the new sites have been analysed and the only thing of value that has turned up is an 18th-century anchor, the newspaper El Pais reported.

It quoted Navy Admiral Daniel Gonzalez-Aller, the director of the search effort, as saying most of the sites examined so far will be ruled out as worthless and include remains of seaside human settlements and possibly even junk like washing machines. Shocked

Carme Chacon and Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, Spain's defence and culture ministers, boarded one of the minesweepers taking part in the search and insisted they are very serious about protecting vestiges of Spain's past.

"Where some see loot, we see our history. Where some look for gold, we find our heritage. Where others would seek to pillage, our calling is to conserve," Ms Chacon said in a speech aboard the ship.

The Culture Ministry estimates there are more than 3,000 sites in Spanish coastal waters with shipwrecks, remains of aircraft, submarines or human settlements, but most of them are remains of ships. Of that total, it says as many as 800 could be in waters off Cadiz.

Future stages of the search campaign will target other areas of Spain's coast, with the ultimate goal of developing a map of where on the seabed shipwrecks lie.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/8047534/Spanish-Navy-finds-100-shipwrecks-in-hunt-for-treasure.html
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PostPosted: 12-11-2010 09:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warning - this article is geographically challenged! Twisted Evil

Found after 300 years, the scourge of the British navy
Wreck found off Portsmouth is identified as feared French corsair
By Cahal Milmo
Friday, 12 November 2010

With 25 guns and a plunder-thirsty crew, La Marquise de Tourny was the scourge of the British merchant fleet some 260 years ago. For up to a decade, the French frigate terrorised English ships by seizing their cargoes and crew under a form of state-sanctioned piracy designed to cripple British trade.

Then, in the mid-18th century, the 460-ton vessel from Bordeaux, which seized three valuable cargo ships in a single year and distinguished itself by apparently never being captured by the English, disappeared without a trace. Nearly 300 years later, the fate of La Marquise and its crew can finally be revealed.

Wreckage from the frigate, including the remarkably well-preserved ship's bell carrying its name and launch date of 1744, has been found in the English Channel some 100 miles south of Plymouth by an American exploration company, suggesting that the feared privateer or "corsair" sank with the loss of all hands in a storm in notoriously treacherous waters off the Channel Islands.

The vessel is the first of its type to be found off British waters and one of only three known around the world, offering a unique insight into a frenetic phase of Anglo-French warfare when both countries set about beefing up their meagre navies in the mid-1700s by providing the captains of armed merchant vessels with "Letters of Marque" to take to the seas and capture enemy ships in revenge for attacks on other cargo convoys.

The result was an escalating war of commercial attrition during which these privately-owned English and French floating raiders fought each other to a stalemate by seizing more than 3,000 vessels each in a nine year period between 1739 and 1748 as both sides sought to choke off valuable trade with their colonies in America and the West Indies. The proceeds from the sale of a single cargo could be enough to make a corsair's crew rich for life.

Dr Sean Kingsley, a British marine archaeologist who has studied the remains of La Marquise de Tourny, told The Independent: "It is a rare symbol of the mid-18th century need to fuse business with warfare at a time when naval fleets were small. Many sea captains dreamed of finding enemy ships stuffed with treasure and becoming rich beyond their wildest dreams."

The wreck was first discovered by researchers working for Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2008, but it has taken two years of painstaking archaeological detective work to conclusively establish the identity of La Marquise, not least because the site in the western end of the English Channel has been badly damaged by trawlers. Evidence such as the ship's hefty 52kg bell could now be offered on loan to French and British museums.

Odyssey, which last year announced it had also discovered nearby the remains of HMS Victory, the immediate predecessor to Admiral Nelson's flagship of the same name, has drawn criticism from some archaeologists for its excavation of wrecks and the selling of artefacts such as coins to recover its costs and fund future projects.

Odyssey argues that the site of La Marquise, where the wooden structure has been dispersed by fishing vessels and natural currents, shows that there is a race against time to examine such wrecks and retrieve whatever artefacts remain before they are destroyed.

Greg Stemm, the company's chief executive, said: "Unfortunately, this type of damage has been common to virtually every site we have discovered in the English Channel. It won't be long before this site will be completely erased from history, which makes it all the more important for the private sector to step in and help with projects."

The discovery of La Marquise nonetheless casts new light on privateering. Named after the wife of the Marquis de Tourny, the royal governor of Bordeaux credited with overseeing the French port's transformation into a colonial trade hub, the frigate-style ship would have combined marauding with delivering cargo between the Americas and French Channel ports.

Archaeologists believe that the vessel, which between 1746 and 1747 alone had captured four ships and possibly took many others, was distributing a perishable cargo such as coffee or sugar when it sank. It was held up as a fine example of a corsair built for speed whose design needed to be replicated in later vessels.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/found-after-300-years-the-scourge-of-the-british-navy-2131814.html

The headline says the wreck was found off Portsmouth. The text says "in the English Channel some 100 miles south of Plymouth" AND "off the Channel Islands".

100 miles south of Plymouth is just off the coast of Brittany! And the Channel Islands are southeast of Plymouth. Neither of these places is anywhere near Portsmouth! (From other stuff I've read, I think "off the Channel Islands" is correct.)
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PostPosted: 16-02-2011 13:01    Post subject: Marine Archaeologists Find Whaling Ship from 1823 Wreck Reply with quote

Quote:
Marine Archaeologists Find Whaling Ship from 1823 Wreck Northwest of Honolulu

HONOLULU (AP).- A fierce sperm whale sank the first whaling ship under George Pollard's command and inspired the classic American novel "Moby-Dick". A mere two years later, a second whaler captained by Pollard struck a coral reef during a night storm and sank in shallow water.


Marine archaeologists scouring remote atolls 600 miles northwest of Honolulu have found the wreck site of Pollard's second vessel — the Two Brothers — which went down in 1823.

Most of the wooden Nantucket whaling ship disintegrated in Hawaii's warm waters in the nearly two centuries since. But researchers found several harpoons, a hook used to strip whales of their blubber, and try pots or large cauldrons whalers used to turn whale blubber into oil. Corals have grown around and on top of many of the objects, swallowing them into the reef.

"To find the physical remains of something that seems to have been lost to time is pretty amazing," said Nathaniel Philbrick, an author and historian who spent more than three years researching the Essex — and its fatal encounter with the whale — the Two Brothers and their captain. "It just makes you realize these stories are more than stories. They're about real lives."

Officials from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument — one of the world's largest marine reserves — were due to announce their findings at a news conference Friday, exactly 188 years after the Two Brothers sank.

Kelly Gleason, the maritime archaeologist who led the discovery, first saw the ship's anchor in 2008 while surveying French Frigate Shoals.

The anchor could have belonged to any one of three 19th century whaling ships that sank at this atoll. But additional artefacts found by Gleason's team over the next two years — like the cast iron cooking pots scattered around the wreck site — were unmistakably from the 1820s, while the other two vessels sank in 1859 and 1867.

The sinking of the Two Brothers was relatively uneventful compared to the Essex's epic run-in with the whale. After the Essex capsized, Pollard and fellow crew members drifted at sea without food and water for three months before they were rescued. To survive, Pollard and others resorted to cannibalism, including eating one of the captain's cousins.

Still, Thomas Nickerson, a crew member who served under Pollard both on the Essex and the Two Brothers, later described his boss as being in a daze as they had to abandon ship for the second time.

"Capt. pollard (sic) reluctantly got into the boat just as they were about Shove off from the Ship," he wrote.

Fortunately, the Two Brothers was sailing with a fellow whaling ship, the Martha, which had taken shelter near a rock. When the sun rose, the 20 or so crew members of the Two Brothers rowed over to the Martha which picked them up. They all survived.

Pollard gave up whaling, though he was just in his mid-30s, and returned to Nantucket, Mass., where he became a night watchman — a position of considerably lower status in the whaling town than captain.

While the sperm whale attack inspired Melville to write "Moby-Dick," the author isn't believed to have used Pollard as the basis for the book's notorious Capt. Ahab.

Melville actually didn't meet Pollard until about a year after his novel was published, some three decades after Two Brothers sank. Philbrick said the meeting left a strong impression on the author, whose creation hadn't been an immediate critical or commercial success.

"He was a man who had the worst cards possible dealt to him but was continuing on with nobility and great dignity," Philbrick said. "He is the anti-Ahab. Ahab is enlisting the devil and whatever to fulfil his crackpot schemes. Pollard was someone who had seen the worst but was quietly going about his life with the utmost humility."

The Two Brothers wrecked in water only 10 to 15 feet deep, and would have likely been stripped clean had it wrecked closer to a populated area. But the isolation of French Frigate Shoals means the site has been untouched.

"We had the opportunity to find something that's probably as close to being a time capsule as we could get," Gleason said.

The Two Brothers was like other New England whaling ships of the time, in that its crew sailed thousands of miles from home hunting whales to harvest their blubber. They boiled the fat of the massive marine mammals into oil used to light lamps in cities from New York to London and to power early industry.

The appetite for whale blubber oil, however, meant the ships quickly exhausted successive whale grounds. The Essex was far off the coast of South America when the sperm whale rammed into it. The Two Brothers was passing through poorly mapped waters northwest of the main Hawaiian islands on the way to recently discovered whale grounds closer to Japan when it hit the reef.

"It was kind of like this ship trap of atolls," Gleason said. "It went from about 40 feet to all of the sudden they were in about 10 feet of water."

For Hawaii, the discovery is a reminder of the great upheaval the whaling industry brought to a kingdom still adjusting to life after the first European travellers arrived.

The hundreds of whaling ships that called on Hawaii's ports starting in 1819 boosted the kingdom's economy, but this mostly benefited a few men who became suppliers to the vessels, said Jonathan Osorio, a professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. The arrival of thousands of outsiders — some of whom claimed Hawaiian law had no jurisdiction over them because they were American or European — challenged the young monarchy.

Gleason said the artefacts are due to go on display at the marine monument's Discovery Center in Hilo and she hopes the exhibit will travel to Nantucket. The archaeologists also have more surveying to do: there's still no accounting for another five whaling ships that sank in the atolls that now make up the Papahanaumokuakea monument.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

artdaily.org


Also: 'Moby Dick' captain's ship found
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PostPosted: 28-03-2011 09:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deep sea treasure: 17th century gold chain worth $250,000 plucked from ocean bed near Atocha wreck
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:10 AM on 28th March 2011

A deep sea diver has struck gold after unearthing a 17th century chain worth $250,000 from the ocean floor.
Bill Burt, a diver for Mel Fisher's Treasures, spotted the 40-inch gold chain while looking for the wrecked Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank off the Florida Keys in a 1622 hurricane.

Shipwreck experts have tentatively valued the piece at around $250,000.
The chain has 55 links, an enamelled gold cross and a two-sided engraved religious medallion featuring the Virgin Mary and a chalice.
On the edges of the cross there is engraved wording thought to be in Latin.

Andy Matroci, captain of Mel Fisher's Treasures salvage vessel, JB Magruder, said the crew had been diving at the North end of the Atocha trail.

On their last trip to the wreck they uncovered 22 silver coins and a cannon ball just east of the site.
They had been hoping to find more coins in the area, Mr Matroci said, but instead found the chain.
'In the nine years I have been running this boat this is the most unique artefact we have brought up,' Mr Matroci said.
The piece is believed to be from the Atocha's infamous treasure trove.
The company has uncovered half a billion dollars in historic artefacts, gold, silver and emeralds since they began diving the wreck in 1969.

In 1985 - after 15 years of searching - the Fisher crew discovered Atocha's 'mother lode', worth more than $450million.
They unearthed thousands of artefacts, silver coins, gold coins - many in near mint condition, exquisite jewellery sets with precious stones, gold chains, disks, a variety of armaments and even seeds, which later sprouted.

They then faced a legal wrangle with the U.S. Government [which] claimed title to the wreck. Florida state officials seized many of the items the Fisher crew had retrieved.
But after eight years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Fisher's favour.

The contents of the ships sterncastle - a wooden, fort-shaped area at the back of ship, have never been recovered.
This is where the wealthy passengers, including nobility and clergy, would have stayed.
Fisher's estimates the treasure in the sterncastle section is worth in the region of half a billion dollars.
The latest find was likely owned by a member of the clergy indicating the company's search for the missing treasure trove could be getting nearer.

------------------------------------------------------------

THE ATOCHA - A HISTORY

The Nuestra Señora de Atocha - or Our Lady of Atocha - was built for the Crown in Havana in 1620.
She was 550 tons with an overall length of 112 feet, had a beam of 34 feet and a draft of 14 feet.
Heavily armed, she was designed to protect other ships within a fleet from attack.

On her doomed voyage of 1622, the Atocha was loaded with an extraordinary cargo.
She carried 24 tons of silver bullion in 1038 ingots, 180,00 pesos of silver coins, 582 copper ingots, 125 gold bars and discs, 350 chests of indigo, 525 bales of tobacco, 20 bronze cannon and 1,200 pounds of worked silverware.
Smuggled items to avoid taxation and unregistered and personal jewellery would also have been onboard.

On September 6 the Atocha was cast onto the coral reefs near the Dry Tortugas - around 35 miles West of Key West - by a severe hurricane.
With her hull badly damaged she quickly sunk with 265 people on board.
Only five - three sailors and two slaves - survived by clinging on to the stump of her mast.
Rescuers tried to get onto the ship but found her hatches tightly battened.

At 55 foot the water depth was too great for them to work on opening her.
They marked the site and moved on to rescue people and treasure from other ships also lost in the storm.

A month later a second hurricane blew through, further destroying the wreck.
For the next 60 years Spanish salvages searched n vain for the galleon, but they never found a trace.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370461/Deep-sea-treasure-17th-century-gold-chain-worth-250-000-plucked-ocean-bed-near-Atocha-wreck.html
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PostPosted: 26-09-2011 09:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wreck to give up £148m in silver from wartime grave
By Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter
Monday, 26 September 2011

The largest consignment of precious metal found in the sea – 200 tonnes of silver worth £148m – has been discovered in the wreck of a British cargo ship sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War .
Odyssey Marine, an American underwater archaeology and salvage firm, will announce the discovery today with its plans to recover the bullion as part of a British government contract, under which it will retain 80 per cent of the cargo's value.

The Gairsoppa, an ageing steamer belonging to the British India Steam Navigation Company, was ordered into the Merchant Navy fleet at the outbreak of war. It was sunk by a single torpedo in February 1941, after hitting heavy weather in the Atlantic and trying to reach safety in the Irish Republic.

Some of the 85-strong crew are thought to have made it to lifeboats as they came under machine-gun fire from the submarine. But after drifting for 13 days and for more than 300 miles only one sailor – Second Officer Richard Ayres – reached the Cornish coast alive.

The well-preserved wreck of the 412ft steel-hulled ship was found by Odyssey this summer, nearly 4,700 metres below the inhospitable waters of the North Atlantic. The vessel had settled on the seabed in a fully upright position, with the cargo holds open and the bullion accessible via the hatches, using remote-controlled robotic submarines.

The Gairsoppa was carrying seven million ounces – about 200 tonnes – of silver to help to fund the war effort, sailing from Calcutta to Liverpool, via Freetown in Sierra Leone – an important staging point for the convoys.

Under a contract with the Department of Transport, which inherited responsibility for the ship, Odyssey will be permitted to retain 80 per cent of the value of the silver in return for taking on the commercial risk and expense of locating the Gairsoppa. If it brings all the bullion to the surface when the planned recovery begins next summer, it will make the company about £118m.

Andrew Craig, the senior project manager, said: "We've accomplished the first phase – the location and identification of the target shipwreck – and now we're hard at work planning for the recovery phase."

The bullion was a mixture of privately owned silver insured by the British Government and state-owned coins and ingots. Researchers working for Odyssey have used the Gairsoppa's cargo manifest and documents from Lloyd's War Losses Register, which detail an insurance payout, to establish the amount of silver on board.

Odyssey is currently locked in a court battle with Spain over the ownership of 500,000 silver coins recovered close to the remains of a vessel claimed by Madrid and has previously attracted criticism from archaeologists who argue that historical ship wrecks should be left untouched.
The company insists its work is done to stringent archaeological standards and helps to preserve knowledge that would otherwise be lost.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wreck-to-give-up-163148m-in-silver-from-wartime-grave-2360915.html

Probably the sub that sank this ship didn't realise what cargo she was carrying. Perhaps the Germans were afraid she might be a Q-ship...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q-ships
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 07:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir Francis Drake's final fleet 'discovered off the coast of Panama'
Treasure hunters claim they have discovered two ships from Sir Francis Drake’s fleet off the coast of Panama and believe his coffin could lie on the seabed nearby.
By Barney Henderson, and Jon Swaine in New York
10:00PM BST 24 Oct 2011

His burial at sea in full armour and in a lead casket was designed to ensure that no one – but especially the Spanish – would find his body.
Now, more than 400 years after Sir Francis Drake's death in the Caribbean, the great seafarer's watery grave may be close to being discovered.

A team of treasure hunters led by an American former basketball team owner claims to have discovered two ships from Drake's fleet lying on the seabed off the coast of Panama. The 195-ton Elizabeth and 50-ton Delight were scuttled shortly after the naval hero's death from dysentery, aged about 55, in 1596. It is thought that Drake's final resting place may be nearby.

Pat Croce, a former president of the Philadelphia 76ers and self-professed "pirate aficionado", embarked on a search for the ships after researching a book on the latter part of Drake's career, as a privateer plundering Spanish ships in the New World.
Mr Croce, 56, described the discovery as "pretty wild", saying that after several days of searching in murky waters, the team suddenly got lucky.

“It’s been truly miraculous,” Mr Croce told The Daily Telegraph. “You set yourself impossible goals in life but to find these two ships has been amazing.
“We are 98 per cent sure of their veracity. The charred wood, the lead on board, the English pottery from that period. And we’re confident no crew in its right mind would have deliberately sailed there.

Mr Croce said that based on multiple records from the time, including the journal of Thomas Maynard, a member of Drake’s entourage who sailed on the Defiance, the coffin was believed to be one league – or just over three miles – away from the wrecks.

Mr Croce described Drake as his “favourite pirate of all time”. “Here’s a fellow in the 16th century who sailed around the world and single-handedly wreaked havoc in the New World when navigation was still primitive,” he said.
“Even Queen Elizabeth described him as her pirate. The British members of our crew have been very excited.”

Drake fell ill a few weeks after failing to conquer the port of Las Palmas.
He died while anchored off the coast of Portobelo and his two badly damaged ships were scuttled to avoid them, or their contents, falling into Spanish hands. Mr Croce's team, which includes experts and explorers from Britain, France, Australia, Panama and Colombia, used what diving experts have described as the most sophisticated equipment in the world to scan the ocean floor.

After locating the two ships, they now hope to find Drake's body, which has long been the target of treasure hunters and historians.
"It's truly a needle in a haystack, but so were the ships. We found them within a week. We just haven't found him, yet," said Mr Croce, the founder of the St Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. The Elizabeth and Delight were emptied and torched after Drake died, so no treasure has been recovered, Mr Croce said.
The ships will remain in the water because they are the property of Panama, he added.

Marine archaeologists were amazed at the find. "We've really, I feel, hit a home run here with what we found with Pat," said James Sinclair, a marine archaeologist.
"Finding the Elizabeth and Delight near where Sir Francis Drake is buried is as exciting to me as helping discover the [Spanish treasure ship] Atocha and diving the RMS Titanic." He added: "Finding ship structures from that time period in this temperature water with the type of organisms that exist is a treasure in itself.
"We have an area that future students of underwater archaeology will be able to use for years to come."

Drake, one of the key figures of the Elizabethan court, is revered for his defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. One of Britain's greatest adventurers, he became only the second seafarer in
history to circumnavigate the world between 1577 and 1580.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/panama/8847105/Sir-Francis-Drakes-final-fleet-discovered-off-the-coast-of-Panama.html

http://www.musicsmiles.com/drake's_drum.htm
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 18:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the late 1960's there was an expedition to find Drakes coffin, using an early remote controled submersible, at the site where he was reputedly buried at sea.

The bottom of the bay was scoured clean by the tide, it was reportedly like a desert. On the last day of the search, they found & filmed a rectangular box/casket in a hollow before the submersable moved away, unable to grip on to the object.

I remember the film being shown on national telivision at the time.
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 22:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you referring to Sydney Wignall's 1975 expedition?

For what it's worth, this thread on another forum:

http://www.thunting.com/smf/shipwrecks_sunken_treasure/sir_francis_drake_and_the_lead_coffin-t11988.0.html

... mentions the following:

- Wignall did discover a lead object in 1975, but it was not a coffin.
- Drake's expedition records indicate an amount of lead sufficient to cover a 2 X 6 foot box was decremented from inventory.
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PostPosted: 12-01-2012 10:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

US diving crew finds wreck of British submarine used in second world war
HMS Olympus struck a mine off the coast of Malta as it tried to evade German and Italian warships on 8 May 1942
Richard Luscombe in Miami guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 January 2012 19.02 GMT

Explorers have discovered the wreck of a British submarine that sank off the coast of Malta in one of the worst naval disasters of the second world war.
Nearly 90 men lost their lives when HMS Olympus struck a mine and sank as it tried to evade German and Italian warships blockading Grand Harbour in the early hours of 8 May 1942.

A team of divers from a Florida-based exploration trust found the wreck while surveying the ocean floor off Malta last year. They announced their findings to the British government and the Royal Navy this week.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is expected to now formally designate the site.

"We are extremely excited by this discovery, it's a very important piece of Malta's history during the war," said Timmy Gambin, archaeological director of the Aurora Trust, a foundation set up to promote knowledge of maritime cultural history.
"The Royal Navy ran a large number of operations using submarines in and out of the island for many purposes, not least as a magic carpet ferrying fuel, ammunition and food, and Olympus played an extremely important role."

The trust, which has headquarters in Key Largo and a logistical base in Malta, visited the wreck, seven miles off the coast, twice last summer. During the second dive in September it sent down a remotely operated vehicle equipped with video cameras to capture images that confirmed the 80-metre-long vessel's identity.

"We had suspicions it was the Olympus. Armed with our research on the features of the submarine, where the guns were, the placing and types of the rudder and propeller, we were able to identify her," Gambin said.
"Except for the damage from the mine she was in pristine condition, sitting upright as if she'd been placed on the seabed."
He stressed that Aurora had treated the site with "every sensitivity possible" given that so many lives were lost.

Many of the crew aboard HMS Olympus – an Odin-class submarine built in Clydebank in 1927 – when it sank were survivors from the recent sinkings of three other Royal Navy submarines in the area by German bombers.
The British naval base at Malta was a crucial staging post for convoys moving through the Mediterranean to support Allied operations in north Africa, but it suffered heavy losses.
"What happened with the Olympus is a sad and tragic story," Gambin said. "Many survived the blast and sinking but not the swim back to shore."

There were only 11 survivors, while 89 men, disorientated by the darkness and distance from shore, perished, according to George Malcolmson, archivist of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire.
"One of the survivors told me how he looked back from the water to the incongruous sight of all these shoes and boots lined up in neat rows on the deck as the sub was sinking," he said.

Aurora has passed video footage from the dives to the British embassy in Washington and sent photographs to the submarine museum.
"It's a double-edged sword," Malcolmson said. "On one hand I'm pleased that for some people it's nice to know where there [sic] loved ones died but the publicity dredges up the possibility of intrusion and interference from people who are less concerned with the sanctity of a British war grave."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/11/british-second-world-war-submarine-wreck
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PostPosted: 22-01-2012 10:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

HMS Victory to be raised from the sea
Diana Pilkington Sunday 22 January 2012

The remains of the first HMS Victory are to be raised from the sea bed nearly 300 years after it sank, it was reported today.
The vessel, predecessor of Nelson's famous flagship, went down in a storm off the Channel Islands in 1744, taking more than 1,000 soldiers to their deaths.

Along with a bronze cannon collection, some believe the ship was carrying a large quantity of gold coins from Lisbon to Britain, which would now be worth a reported £500 million.
According to the Sunday Times, the wreck is to be handed over to the Maritime Heritage Foundation, which is expected to employ Odyssey Marine Exploration to carry out the recovery.
The American company found the ship four years ago.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "Efforts to protect key parts of British Naval history such as the wreck of HMS Victory 1744 are very welcome and we hope to make an announcement shortly."

The guns and other artefacts will be displayed in British museums, while Odyssey is likely to receive the bulk of any treasure under the laws of salvage, the newspaper reported.

The Maritime Heritage Foundation was set up by Lord Lingfield, the Tory peer formerly known as Sir Robert Balchin.
He is a relative of Admiral Sir John Balchin who was on board the Victory when it sank, although he stressed he would not profit personally from the ship's cargo.

Lord Lingfield told the Sunday Times: "The foundation seeks to prevent damage to this historically important site and maximise its archaeological, scientific and educational value.
"We hope it will give a unique insight into the world of the mid-18th century Royal Navy."

The ship's location remained a mystery despite numerous searches, until Odyssey discovered the wreck in May 2008.
The Florida-based firm found the site 330ft under the English Channel, nearly 65 miles from where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked, near the Channel Islands.

The Dutch financial publication Amsterdamsche Courant reported on November 18 1744, a month after the ship sank: "People will have it that on board of The Victory was a sum of 400,000 pounds sterling that it had brought from Lisbon for our merchants."
It was also thought that large quantities of silver and gold coins would have been on board The Victory from enemy prize ships captured by Balchin, worth 120,000 pounds sterling at the time.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hms-victory-to-be-raised-from-the-sea-6293026.html
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PostPosted: 02-02-2012 07:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Treasure hunter claims $3bn WWII-era find off US coast

A Maine treasure hunter says he has discovered a WWII-era shipwreck filled with platinum, now worth $3bn (£1.9bn).
Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research says a wreck sitting 50 miles (80km) off the US Atlantic coast is the SS Port Nicholson, sunk in 1942.
The Port Nicholson, a British merchant ship, was torpedoed by a German U-boat in an attack that killed six people.

Some have expressed doubts the wreck holds platinum, and maritime law would complicate ownership claims.
Anthony Shusta, an attorney representing the British government, says it is unclear if the ship ever carried platinum.
"We're still researching what was on the vessel," Mr Shusta told the Associated Press news agency. "Our initial research indicated it was mostly machinery and military stores."
The United Kingdom will wait until salvage operations begin before deciding whether to file a claim on the cargo, he added.

Mr Brooks says a US Treasury Department ledger shows platinum bars were on board, as part of a payment from the Soviet Union to the US for war supplies.
He also has underwater video footage he says shows a platinum bar surrounded by 30 boxes that he believes holds platinum ingots.
He has not yet brought up any platinum but says he and his crew hope to begin raising the treasure later this month.
"I'm going to get it, one way or another, even if I have to lift the ship out of the water," he said.

The treasure hunter said he held off the announcement of his find for four years while he negotiated salvage rights. Ownership rights are still unsettled.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16847737
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PostPosted: 06-05-2012 08:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Archaeologists accuse MoD of allowing US company to 'plunder' shipwreck
Experts take legal advice in effort to block lucrative deal on underwater excavation of HMS Victory
Dalya Alberge
The Observer, Sunday 6 May 2012

The Ministry of Defence is facing a legal battle and parliamentary questions after letting a US company excavate a British 18th-century warship laden with a potentially lucrative cargo.
Lord Renfrew is among leading archaeologists condemning a deal struck over HMS Victory, considered the world's mightiest ship when she sank in the Channel in 1744.

In return for excavating the vessel's historic remains, which may include gold and silver worth many millions of pounds, Odyssey Marine Exploration is entitled to receive "a percentage of the recovered artefacts' fair value" or "artefacts in lieu of cash".

Lord Renfrew, a Cambridge academic, said: "That is against the Unesco convention, in particular against the annexe, which states that underwater cultural heritage may not be sold off or exploited for commercial gain. Odyssey is a commercial salvager. It's not clear that payment could be obtained other than by the sale of the artefacts which are raised – which, of course, is how Odyssey has operated in the past. To raise artefacts simply for sale would be regarded by most responsible archaeologists as plundering."

Two bronze guns have already been recovered from the wreck and sold to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, funded out of the MoD's grant.

The archaeologists accuse the MoD of dereliction of duty in passing responsibility for the wreck to the Maritime Heritage Foundation (MHF), a charitable trust "which appears to have no financial, archaeological or management resources" while embarking on a project "that will cost millions".
Archaeologists are determined to halt the excavation and are taking advice from maritime lawyers. The issue was raised by the All-party Parliamentary Archaeology Group.

An Odyssey spokeswoman said that the MHF will work with an advisory group including representatives from the MoD and English Heritage, "to ensure that best archaeological practices are adopted in line with the annexe".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/may/06/hms-victory-shipwreck-odyssey-excavation
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PostPosted: 26-01-2013 07:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

British cannon from Battle of Cape Passaro found off Sicily

Marine archaeologists working on a wreck off the coast of Sicily have discovered five large cannon from a British ship, believed to have sunk in a major battle with Spanish galleons.

The team searching waters near the city of Syracuse said the "exceptional" find dates back to the Battle of Cape Passaro in the early 1700s.
Pictures taken by divers show the cannon were barely covered by sand.
The discovery has helped pinpoint the exact location of the famous battle.

The cannon have now been brought to the surface - after 300 years in the deep sea - and cleaned.
According to the archaeologists, they are in such fine condition that - in some places - the barrels still gleam in the light.
The team said they were able to identify the guns using part of an inscription on the handle of a piece of cutlery also discovered nearby.
The letters LONDO were found under what appeared to be a picture of an English rose, clearly indicating the word London - they said.

This and other evidence has convinced the researchers that the cannon came from a British vessel sunk at the Battle of Cape Passaro in 1718.
The battle involved more than 60 ships and ended in defeat for the Spanish.
At the time, the British were attempting to drive them out of Sicily.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21208809

I think that's the first I've heard about that particular battle.
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PostPosted: 26-02-2013 20:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

USCG hearings into HMS Bounty sinking.
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