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Entries in Shipwreck (6)

Saturday
Apr272013

Siblings Swim for Survival After Boat Sinks in St. Lucia

ABC News(St. Lucia) -- Two siblings swam for more than half a day, battling huge waves and fearing sharks after their fishing vessel capsized.

Dan Suski, 30, of San Francisco, and his sister Kate Suski, 39, of Seattle, chartered a boat last Sunday and had planned for a day of  fishing in the waters off St. Lucia. A captain and first mate also came along for the excursion.

The 31-foot fishing vessel suddenly took on water Sunday afternoon, forcing all four people on board to strap on their life jackets and jump into the open water.

 “It was completely surreal watching the boat stern go down, go subsurface underwater was surreal,” Dan said.

In the chaos of it all, the Suskis were separated from their crew by the swelling sea.  They said they saw a beacon of hope in the distance, dry land, and started swimming toward it.

“It would disappear intermittently as we swam but we felt the wind behind us and used that as a gauge for direction,” Kate said.

After a grueling 14 hour swim and battling hypothermia, the Suskis made it to shore.

The pair said they spent the night eating bananas and mangoes. The next day they hiked until they found a farm worker who alerted authorities.

“”We were very lucky we found a small sliver of beach and we were able to get to safety that way,” Kate said.

The Suskis were hospitalized and treated for dehydration and various injuries. The captain and first mate were in the water for nearly a day before a private boat owner plucked them to safety.

St. Lucia’s maritime affairs unit is investigating the cause of the shipwreck.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep052012

Mystery of Shipwreck Uncovered by Hurricane Isaac Solved

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Isaac has uncovered the remains of an old sailing ship on an Alabama beach, prompting questions about when the ship wrecked and where it came from.

The remains of the large wooden ship have been seen before: The wreckage is normally covered by sand, but the beach erosion caused by big storms has periodically given glimpses of what is left of the ship's hull.

The wreckage was first exposed after Hurricane Camille in 1969, then again in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan, and again in 2008 after Hurricane Ike.

But Isaac unearthed more of the ship than has been seen before, bringing droves of people out to see the bit of historical mystery on the shore.

Local historians say there really is no mystery about the ship's origins. According to Mike Bailey, historian with the Fort Morgan, Ala., Historical Society, the ship is the Rachel, a schooner built in Pascagoula, Miss., during World War I.  At that time, the government was using most steam ships for the war effort, but the region still needed trade ships, so the Rachel was built to carry cargo in the gulf.

The Rachel was built at the De Angelo Shipyard in Moss Point, Miss., for the purpose of carrying lumber.  When she was completed in 1918, she was the largest ship built in the yard at more than 150 feet long with three masts.  However, with the conclusion of WWI, she wasn't in high demand, sitting unused for several years, Bailey told ABC News.

In 1923, the ship was carrying a small amount of cargo and a crew of about eight men on her first voyage, when she ran into a damaging storm.

"The crew tried to save her by dropping an anchor, but she ran aground and was destroyed," Bailey told ABC News. "What little cargo she was carrying was salvaged, and the ship was burned."

Bailey said the real mystery is what the ship was carrying.  The Rachel was built as a lumber schooner, but ran aground during the Prohibition years when alcohol was illegal.

"The legend is that she was carrying illegal liquor," Bailey told ABC. "That's unconfirmed -- and nobody who might know what cargo she was carrying seems to want to say -- so that's the mystery."

Despite rumors that the ship pre-dates the Civil War, Bailey said he's sure it's the World War I-era Rachel.

"It's her.  We have the pictures, the stories from families who have been in the area for 150 years whose parents or grandparents remember the wreck," Bailey said.  "We have news reports from the time of the wreck, the blueprints -- it's the Rachel."

The ship is largely on private land, and there aren't any plans to attempt to move the ship, because such an undertaking would be incredibly expensive, according to the Alabama Historical Society.

So for now, the ship is a bit of history that washes ashore every few years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May172012

200-Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program(NEW YORK) -- Scientists have discovered a 19th-century shipwreck off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. They made the find during an expedition led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Researchers, working from the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer, found remnants of a wooden-hulled vessel that is believed to be about 200 years old.

Using underwater robots and high-definition cameras, scientists found a wealth of artifacts, including anchors, navigation equipment, glass bottles, ceramic plates, an iron stove, cannons and a box of muskets.

“This discovery was part of a larger mission to look at unknown or poorly-known areas in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Frank Cantelas, a maritime archaeologist with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

According to NOAA, “the 56-day expedition that ended April 29 was exploring poorly known regions of the Gulf, mapping and imaging unknown or little-known features and habitats, developing and testing a method to measure the rate that gas rises from naturally-occurring seeps on the seafloor, and investigating potential shipwreck sites.”

Using sonar technology, researchers had a first look last fall at what turned out to be the site of the shipwreck.

According to Cantelas, Shell Oil Company was conducting an oil and gas survey required by the government to be sure none of its projects are disturbing anything sensitive in the ocean.

“The site is in over 4,000 feet of water and we knew nothing about it -- we just had a fuzzy image from a sonar recording, which is like a camera but uses sound instead of light,” Cantelas said. “But we wanted to see what it was because it was shaped like it could be a shipwreck.”

So NOAA partnered with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which issues permits for bottom-disturbing activities related to oil and gas exploration, to find the 200-year-old shipwreck.

The ship used telepresence technology to transmit what was happening on the ship live.

“Telepresence provides the ability to bring a lot of different specialists, who have various expertise, to the table during the dive,” said Fred Gorell, public affairs officer for NOAA’s office of Exploration and Research. “They could actually look at the wreck sites while it was happening. And this way research is not limited by the number of people who are actually on the ship.”

“Artifacts in and around the wreck and the hull’s copper sheathing may date the vessel to the early to mid-19th century,” said Jack Irion, a maritime archaeologist with BOEM, in a NOAA statement. “Some of the more datable objects include what appears to be a type of ceramic plate that was popular between 1800 and 1830, and a wide variety of glass bottles. A rare ship’s stove on the site is one of only a handful of surviving examples in the world and the second one found on a shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico.”

And researchers hope this discovery will help in other areas.

“Archaeologically, this is a very significant find,” Cantelas said. “It appears to date back to the early 1800s and a lot was going on in the Gulf of Mexico around that time. You have the Louisiana Purchase, the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War -- a lot of conflict in that region -- so this research will hopefully help us fill in the blank pages of history. It will provide information that we don’t really know about the history of the Gulf region.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr302012

Potential $4 Billion Loot from WWII Wreck Beckons Treasure Hunters

Hemera/Thinkstock(GORHAM, Maine) -- The crew aboard the 220-foot Sea Hunter is on the hunt for an exceedingly rare catch: nearly $4 billion in gold and platinum from a World War II-era shipwreck.

The Maine-based Sub Sea Research crew aboard the vessel have searched for the Port Nicholson wreck for nearly five years and are now on their way to retrieve their first piece of treasure.

Sub Sea Research co-founder Greg Brooks believes the wreck could be carrying platinum and gold ingots that were originally a payment from the Soviet Union to the U.S. for war supplies.  The Port Nicholson was sunk in 1942 by German U-boats only 50 miles off the coast of Provincetown, Mass.

Brooks talked to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV about what it means to reach the wreck after five years of effort.

“Some dreams are more difficult to achieve than others,” Brooks told WCVB-TV. “This one is like astronomical.”

The Sub Sea Research team was named official custodians of the wreck by the U.S. Marshals Service and stand to make 5 percent of the treasure’s value. It could mean each crew member would receive about $8 million.

Technician Nick Snyder said his mother had already commandeered his portion of the potential treasure.

“Well my mom wants to redo her kitchen, that’s about it,” Snyder told WCVC-TV. “She’ll get that and maybe a new car.”

However, during the current trip, the team doesn’t plan on coming back as millionaires. Instead, Brooks told WCVB-TV their plan is merely to survey the wreck to ensure that nothing has changed or shifted since their last exploration.

But the team isn’t planning on going home completely empty-handed. After putting $6.5 million into the search, the Sub Sea Research team hopes to pick up at least one gold bar to help finance a future upgrade on their boat.

In a video Brooks posted to the company’s Twitter account, the narrator explains that the most lucrative portion of the treasure is also thought to be in the most perilous part of the wreck and could potentially ruin the company’s expensive equipment. However, the video ends with the definitive statement, “Go big or go home.”

Brooks echoed that statement telling WCVB-TV, “We’re going to do it, guaranteed.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

Blackbeard's Cannon Lifted from Ocean Floor off North Carolina

Karen Browning/N.C. Department of Cultural Resources(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Archaeologists lifted a 300-year-old cannon from the pirate Blackbeard's ship off the coast of North Carolina Wednesday.

The eight-foot-long cannon was covered in sand and ocean debris called "concretion," which will take archaeologists and students at East Carolina University as many as eight years to crack through before getting to the metal cannon, according to Jennifer Woodward, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, which oversees the project.

"It was perfect.  It's a beautiful day, the crews were out earlier this morning, several boats out there witnessed it," Woodward said.  "It looks like it's covered in concretions, with cement all around it, and there will be lots of things attached to it."

Woodward said that in past recoveries of cannons from the ship, bits of rope, lead shot and gold dust had been found encased with the recovered artifact.  Researchers have also found wine glass stems and a leg shackle, likely used in the slave trade, she said.  Twelve cannons have been lifted from the ship so far.

Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, was the captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge, a captured French slave ship.  In 1717, he successfully blockaded the harbor in Charleston, S.C., where he demanded money and goods from the townspeople for weeks.

He used Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as his base of operations.  It was there that he met his end in 1718.

Lauren Hermley, a researcher with the group, said that Blackbeard likely grounded the ship on purpose before it sank, giving the pirate and his crew time to take off the big ticket items -- treasure troves of silver, for example.

He was rumored to have a treasure hidden somewhere, but if he did, the secret died with him.  The artifacts that remain are jackpots only to archaeologists and history buffs.

Hermley noted that the recovery of artifacts has been going on since 1997, and is expected to last until 2013.  Artifacts from the ship are on display in North Carolina museums and museums around the country.  It is the largest underwater archeological project in the country, she noted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb112011

Shipwrecked Whaler from 1823 Discovered in Hawaiian Waters

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONOLULU) -- Nearly 600 miles northwest of Honolulu, in the remote Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, lies a shipwreck with a literary link to history.

George Pollard was captain of the Essex, a Nantucket whaling vessel that sank in 1821 after being rammed by a sperm whale in the South Pacific. He and his men drifted at sea for three months, having to resort to cannibalism before eventually being rescued.

The Essex's epic tale inspired Herman Melville's classic novel Moby-Dick, but it is Pollard's second ill-fated vessel, the Two Brothers, that is gaining notoriety today.

Exactly 188 years to the day after the Two Brothers sank during a storm in 1823, marine archaeologists working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they have found the ship's wreckage.

"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 researched both the Essex and the Two Brothers extensively. "It just makes you realize these stories are more than stories. They're about real lives."

Pollard and his men survived the Two Brothers wreck and were rescued in the morning by the whaling ship Martha, which had been sailing with them. But Pollard had never imagined lightning would strike twice and according to the writings of Thomas Nickerson, a crew member who worked both doomed voyages.

Although most of the wood from the Nantucket, Mass. vessel has disintegrated in Hawaii's warm waters, researchers have discovered multiple harpoons, a hook used to strip whale blubber and cauldrons that were used to turn blubber into oil.

The Two Brothers is the first wrecked whaler from Nantucket, the birthplace of whaling in America, to be found. The vessel was part of a fleet of several hundred whaling ships that played a part in America's economic and political expansion into the Pacific. The vessels were also responsible for the near extinction of many whale species and the early exploration of the polar regions and Indian Ocean.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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