Friday, May 10, 2024

WORLD'S OLDEST SHIPWRECK?

 10 May 2024: Almost mid May and spring seems reluctant (at least here in the Northeast U.S.) to join us on a full time basis. 80 F one day, 50 the next. Crazy! Good thing my boat has heat! The post today comes from the U.S. edition of The Sun, and presumably is accurate! What could turn out the be the world's oldest intact shipwreck, exploreable only by a remote operated vehicle due to its extreme depth.

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Found lying on its side by an Anglo-Bulgarian team in late 2017, the 75ft structure is officially the world's oldest known intact shipwreck.

Despite thousands of years isolated almost 1.25 miles beneath the surface, the rudder, rowing benches and even the contents of its hold are as they were.

That's thanks to the lack of oxygen at those depths, meaning organic material can be preserved for thousands of years.


It was discovered as one of 65 ship wrecks by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP), who used advanced mapping technology to survey more than 2,000 sq km of seabed.

Also found was a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet and Roman trading vessels complete with amphorae.

But the Greek merchant ship is of a kind only previously seen on the side of ancient Greek pottery, such as the 'Siren Vase' in the British Museum.

Dating back to around 480 BC, the vase shows Odysseus strapped to the mast as his ship sails past three mythical sea nymphs whose tune was thought to drive sailors to their deaths.

A small piece of the vessel was taken following its discovery to be carbon dated by the research team, which confirmed the ship to be at least 2,400 years old.

A member of the expedition, Helen Farr, described the wreckage as something from "another world".

She told the BBC: "It's when the ROV [remote operated vehicle] drops down through the water column and you see this ship appear in the light at the bottom so perfectly preserved it feels like you step back in time."

Lying more than 2,000m below the surface, the wreckage is also beyond the reach of modern divers.

"It's preserved, it's safe," Farr added. "It's not deteriorating and it's unlikely to attract hunters."

Also involved in the expedition was an international team of scientists led by University of Southampton experts.

Jon Adams, Professor of Archaeology at the institution, is Black Sea MAP’s principal investigator.

He said the discovery of an intact ship from the Classical world is something he never believed was possible.

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world," he told the university's website.

The University worked with the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology, and the Centre of Underwater Archaeology, both in Bulgaria, on the project.

The ships cargo remains unknown, however,

The research team said more funding would be needed if they are to return to the site.

"Normally we find amphorae (wine vases) and can guess where it's come from, but with this it's still in the hold," said Dr Farr.

"As archaeologists we're interested in what it can tell us about technology, trade and movements in the area."

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Just realized we may have posted some info on this wreck in the past, but it's still an amazing story and, if we did mention it before, it's worth mentioning again! 

Until next time (and maybe consistently warmer weather!),

                               Fair Winds, 

                                         Old Salt

Thursday, April 25, 2024

MYSTERY SHIP IDENTIFIED

 25 April 2024: And now another month winds down - amazing how quickly they seem to go by.... must have something to do with our age! But, that notwithstanding, Spring is here; boats have been - are are almost done - scraping and painting. Marinas are sprucing up their docks and another (hopefully) wonderful season of boating is upon us.... And speaking of boats (yes, I know; that's what this blog is all about, so no surprise there), the following from a source in Australia ("Supercarblondie") on a surprising find off their coast.

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The SS Nemesis, a ship lost to the depths of the ocean over a century ago, has emerged from the shadows of history.

In September 2023, the mystery has finally been solved.

The discovery of the SS Nemesis, lying nearly 525 feet underwater off the coast of Sydney, is a momentous occasion

The SS Nemesis, a ship lost to the depths of the ocean over a century ago, has emerged from the shadows of history.

[ed: not sure this is Nemesis, but maybe could be?]

The disappearance of the Nemesis in 1904 during a powerful storm off the coast of Australia sparked a mystery that had puzzled maritime experts for generations.

More than a century later, in September 2023, the mystery was finally solved.

Ships and airplanes disappearing without a trace are rare occurrences, but they do happen.

The vanishing of the SS Nemesis is one such historic event, making its name in the books of maritime history.

For more than a century, the fate of the 240-foot vessel and its 32 crew members remained unknown, until now.

The SS Nemesis was found lying nearly 525 feet underwater off the coast of Sydney, marking a momentous discovery.

The wreck was accidentally stumbled upon by Subsea Professional Marine Services, and remains remarkably untouched, preserving its historical significance.

Confirmation of the ship’s identity came from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

Key structures, including two anchors, were found intact, providing some clues to its tragic demise.

Experts believe the ship succumbed to the fury of the storm, eventually overwhelmed by powerful waves. 

The rapid sinking left no time for the crew to deploy lifeboats, resulting in the loss of all on board.

Now, government officials seek to bring closure to the remaining families of the crew members, offering hope after more than a century of uncertainty.

Of course, with this incident having taken place more than 100 years ago, it’s doubtful that any direct relatives remain.

“Around 40 children lost their parents in this wreck and I hope this discovery brings closure to families and friends connected to the ship who have never known its fate,” Penny Sharpe, the New South Wales minister for environment and heritage, said.

“The loss of Nemesis has been described as one of Sydney’s most enduring maritime mysteries and has even been described by shipwreck researchers as the ‘holy grail’.

“Thanks to collaborative work with CSIRO and Subsea, using modern technology and historical records, Heritage NSW has been able to write the final chapter of SS Nemesis’ story.”

The discovery of the SS Nemesis serves as a reminder of the risks faced by seafarers in the past – and to this day – as well as the importance of maritime safety measures.

As CSIRO works to create a 3D model of the wreck for further investigation, the SS Nemesis takes its place among other notable shipwrecks, contributing to our understanding of maritime archaeology.

After more than a century without a trace, the mystery of SS Nemesis can finally take a permanent rest.

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From the same source, an update on a previous story we offered a while ago:

 

‘Holy Grail’ shipwreck worth $20 billion to be raised from the ocean floor 

[ed: this may be a bit misleading - I doubt they will be bringing the entire and very fragile vessel to the surface - just the "good stuff," would be my guess]

The Spanish ship San José has 200 tons of treasure onboard
The treasure includes gold, silver, and emeraldsRecovery of the shipwreck could begin before April ends.

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WOW! two for the price of one! Reminds of a sign I noticed outside a pub recently: "buy 1 beer for the price of 2 and get the second one free!" 

Enjoy - until next time

                                           Fair winds,

                                                         Old Salt