|24/06/2023||SHIPWRECK & TITANIC STRUGGLES||
Ships that sink can claim lives.
Sunken ships can claim lives.
When ‘500’ die after a fishing boat sinks’, ‘shipwreck’ becomes an inappropriate description.
The 75 foot fishing boat, Andriana, sank in 2023 with an estimated loss of 500 fleeing migrants. A very small boat when size mattered.
And five are feared lost (21/06/1023) in the twenty foot submersible while sightseeing to the wreck of the Titanic.
How do we handle the absurdity of such comparison today?
Unfortunately, reporting such losses is driven, to a large extent, by viewer and listener ‘ratings’ = advertising = profit! Is civilisation spiralling out of control to the murky world of total greed or is that ‘just the way it always was’?
During a salvage operation two hundred and forty years ago, June, 1783, two men died while diving down to the wreck, Comte de Belgioioso, in Dublin Bay, Charles Spalding and Ebeneezer Watson. The ship was lost in a storm and there were no survivors from approximately 150 on board. The ship was bound for China on a trading voyage.
Days between events, hanging on the silence from the sophisticated carbon-fibre submarine and its five occupants that journeyed the four kilometres down to the wreck of the Titanic, the world has forgotten Andriana and collectively holds its breadth while waiting to see if the Titanic will claim five more lives.
A submersible of advanced technology, equipped with a number automatic fail safe systems, and hopes of a rescue are still hanging by a thread. (Sadly there was an R.I.P. announcement, today, 22/06/1783.)
The two divers who were lost in their wooden diving bell in 1783 also had a quick release mechanism - a heavy weight that could be severed from inside the bell and dumped. This allowed their diving bell to rise unaided to the surface. The divers failed to cut it and the bell was brought back to the surface with the two deceased divers still sitting inside.
What is the point? Discovery, adventure, risk, fortune and bravery, is an adventurer’s lot and we live it and the media loves it.
And who will rush to the bottom of the sea to retrieve the bodies of 500 penniless but hopeful migrants whose boat was ignored after it was reported wallowing for hours in the open sea until it eventually sank?
Submersible tourism will undoubtedly be investigated and regulated as a result of Titanic struggles, but who will prevent another packed and dangerous migrant boat from sailing?
We make choices.
|02/06/2023||Chinese Super-Mariners or Junk History?
Books, ‘1421’ and ‘1434’ by Gavin Menzies.||
Will the recent discovery of two Ming Dynasty shipwrecks by the Chinese submersible, Deep Sea Warrior, throw light on the 15th century Chinese expeditions that were so convincingly described in Gavin Menzies books, ‘1421’ and ‘1434’, but thrown on the heap of ‘junk history’ by fellow writers and academics?
In many respects the march of Chinese advancement has recommenced, and to one degree or another, has outstripped gains made in the West. Only recently announced but discovered in October 2022, two 500 year old Ming Dynasty shipwrecks have been discovered by their deep sea submersible, ‘Deep Sea Warrior’, at 1500 metres, 12 miles apart in the South China Sea.
Archaeologists are very excited with the discoveries and the finds of thousands of pieces of porcelain crockery and other artefacts. Such finds may now throw some light on the extent of the maritime adventures of the Chinese Empire during the 15th century.
Will Mr Menzies writings be found to hold grains of truth?
- An Unimaginable Shipwreck||
A tiny number of compatriots survived and told the story of a desperate fight for survival that sadly ended in an unbelievable loss of life on the coast of Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1588. Somehow, the magnitude and significance of this disasterous shipwreck has never conveyed fully into the psyche of the Irish people.
Any series of sad events relating to multiple and consecutive incidences of shipwrecks, such as that of St Paul, when described by his fellow Apostle, Luke, after he was ‘shipwrecked for a third time’, on the coast of Malta in 60 A.D., may seem comparable with the following account. (Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 27.)
The experience of St Paul does not compare however, and is representative of a number of stories recounting how sailors, having had the misfortune of their ship sinking, then later transferred into another ship, only to sink once again, and so on. These latter occurrences, not entirely but by enlarge, have been portrayed over protracted periods during war at sea.
‘Thrice shipwrecked’ is a unique event and begins with the La Rata Santa Maria Encoronada, a significant but bulky trading vessel that was called into military service in 1588 by King Philip of Spain. She was ordered to take part in the ‘Invincible Armada’ that would crush the English and restore true Christianity. It was God’s will - the mission was blessed and could not fail.
However, God was playing both sides and just hadn’t made up his mind until the huge Armada reached the English Channel. Having blown hot and cold, He finally blew in favour of English Christianity and the devil had a field day.
Invincibles they were not, and were scattered by the wind and British cannon fire. Defeated, a significant number of the Armada vessels then sailed around England and Scotland in an attempt to get back to Spain. Their course took them southwards off the west coast of Ireland, a coast they were warned to steer clear of.
The Rata was battle weary when she limped into the shelter of Achill Island on September 15. Led by the thirty four year old Spanish noble, Alonso Martínez de Leyva, she carried more than 400 Spanish sailors and soldiers who survived after she wrecked near Ballycroy. All aboard escaped several miles over land and sea and were joined by a number other survivors from an unidentified Armada vessel wrecked nearby in Broadhaven Bay, on the remote north western shores of county Mayo.
Assisted by local clans, this large number of survivors joined an already large compliment in the Duqessa Santa Anna after she limped into Blacksod for repairs several days later. She came to anchor in Elly Bay, swelling the total number of optimistic homeward bound travellers to in excess of 900.
They all sailed on the Santa Ana a week later. However, they soon discovered that they were unable to make further way southward and set a new course back towards Scotland. Misfortune struck again when the Santa Anna wrecked on September 28, in Loughros Bay, on the southwest coast of Donegal.
After another miraculous survival of her full compliment, led by the now badly injured De Leyva, they marched many miles southeast over difficult terrain after receiving news of Armada vessels anchored in Donegal Bay. Such a large number of Spanish soldiers ‘shivered some timbers’ in Dublin before the authorities learned that, they had reached Killybegs and had entered into the large ship, La Gerona.
Heading for Scotland, the Gerona was violently wrecked under high cliffs on the coast of Antrim, on October 28.
With no respite, they scrambled from ship to shipwreck, thrice. All of the soldiers and crews of the Rata Encoronada, Duquessa Santa Anna and La Gerona suffered 43 days of salvation and repeated shipwreck.
Just nine of her compliment survived the ordeal, from an estimated 1400. This death toll represents the greatest loss of life in an unparalleled saga of shipwreck on the coast of Ireland.
|06/02/2023||HERITAGE v GOLIATH||
I was eight years old, scutting on the back of the same company’s buses, when this old lady was built for the Irish State’s transport authority, Córas Iompar Éirean (CIE), Transport for Ireland(TFI) now.
Built during a flurry of post war ship building, the Dublin Liffey Dockyard turned out a new ferry for the Aran Islands in 1957/8. She was named, Naomh Éanna, once an ancient warrior King who established a monastic settlement in the Aran Islands. She also carried the company’s original logo, ‘CIE’, representing her owners, the Irish State, which provided road, rail and sea transport for Ireland.
The Sate’s civil maritime infrastructure is long gone, the remaining road & rail is in the process of rationalisation - code for privatisation. Just as with other elements of the Irish State’s critical infrastructure, such as the well known airline, Aer Lingus, there was no good reason for attempting to alter its logo or to dispose of it – except...
CIE’s original logo, the Winged Wheel, dating back to the 1940’s, some putting its origins in the ancient Roman period, fell victim of Dubliners’ derogatory wit, and was interpreted as the ‘Flying Snail’.
The old ferry, abandoned where she lies today, has little or no archaeological value, arbitrarily fixed by the ‘100 year rule’. She does have strong sentimental value based around her history of service to the Aran Islands. The ship was an inappropriate design at the time, as were the harbours she serviced, a mismatch leading to some hilarious but dangerous spectacles loading man and beasts.
Taken from service in 1988 she was sold to the charity, Irish Nautical Trust, and lodged in what has been facetiously described as a ‘maritime quarter’, then on to the Irish Ship and Barge Fabrication Co., and then to the bottom. Before her latter days of total ignominy she housed two water-sports retail units; Surf Dock, supplying water-sports gear, and Flagship Scuba, owned by the Titanic explorer, Rory Goldin, who supplies diving equipment.
The ship’s bottom was known to have been as thin as paper for years but after the retail shops vacated, it was moved to one of the Basin’s old graving docks and just fell into further decay.
Attempts have been made by local community groups to resurrect and put her to some good public use, to no avail. Now, its on the bottom – and nothing like a good wreck to get everybody’s interest!
Like many before her, there is no doubt that the ship could be put to some novel touristic use, especially in its setting of the Grand Canal Basin’s graving docks - beautiful examples of stone masonry that hopefully will be preserved and exploited. These and surrounding lands are apparently owned by the National Asset Managemet Agency , better known to us by, NAMA.
It too, only 'temporary' maybe, is a State body – so, the wheel comes full circle. It appears that the docks and lands are destined for ‘high value’ development with no shortage of eager developers. The wreck and its inconvenient heritage, is now in the way.
Base image by 'Unchartered Ireland'.
|01/11/2022||Archaeological Wonders - They Just Keep Coming||
Swedish marine archaeologists have recently discovered the wreck of the Vasa’s sister ship, Applet, near the island of Vaxholm, just east of the capital, Stockholm. Identification has been confirmed by wood samples and archival data.
The warship Vasa, 1210 tons, sunk in 1628 and was raised in 1961, preserved, and is on display today. The warship Applet,64 guns, was built in 1629 and was sunk in 1659. It is likely that raising the wreck, a monumental task, both technically and financially, will not be attempted in this case.
Images are courtesy of Stockholm's Maritime Museum.
|05/09/2022||Its Never ‘Just a Wreck’
(Loss of the MV Cameo)||
Even though the young student had little need to describe the lost ship no more than a ‘total wreck’, there’s always a ‘story’.
Commonly addressed by her last Christian name, Stella, Susan was actually the young woman’s first name; her second was Caroline after her mother......
Thirteen years prior to Stella’s happy occasion, the coasting motor vessel Cameo ran up onto the Arklow Bank, and although she stranded hard on the Bank, she was not abandoned until three days later.....
Stella and Vivien were of that legendary Arklow maritime name, Tyrrell; daughters of Henry Edward Tyrrell, captain of the coasting motor vessel, Tyrronall. The coaster had been the WW2 prize, Heimat, when she was seized by Britain and renamed, Empire Contamar when Jim Tyrrell bought her as an abandoned wreck in 1947....
Ships’ names have never been bestowed willy-nilly. Obscure to many, ship’s names quite often hold some deep meaning. As with many of the Arklow ships’ their names have comprised of segments from the famous shipping names that have resided in Arklow, those who have been members of the earlier entities of Arklow Shipping; the Tyrrell, Kearon and Hall, giving birth to the evenly comprised, Tyrronall...........
The following evening, the 12th, the lifeboat was re called to rescue the captain and his men from the Cameo, which by that time, had begun to break and take in water. The Lady Kylsant, set out in the dark at about 9.30 and battled a strong SW wind to reach the sinking ship. Successful in their mission this time, the Cameo’s crew were returned to Wicklow and lodged in the Bridge Tavern, a hostelry that remains alongside the bridge on the quays, still tempting sailors and tourists.....
The captain, George Forbes Esson (61), and the the first officer, George Howard Robinson (A familiar name in the sailing ships of Littlehampton.), were found to be ‘seriously at fault’, due to ‘poor navigation’, and their tickets were suspended for six months.....
The Cameo continued commercial coastal trading, often in convoy and under aerial protection to and from various UK coastal ports before being drawn back directly into conveying war material and some ‘Special Service’ voyages, almost entirely in UK waters. Towards the end of the war she extended voyages further into German ports before resuming to peacetime coastal trading around the UK....
There was no trouble re locating her remains, but we had forgotten the time of the ‘sweet spot’ - slack water. Or as it has been more colourfully described, ‘The Dead of Neaps’.
|14/06/2022||The wreck of HMS GLOUCESTER 1682-2007||
|14/06/2022||ACCIDENT or DESIGN
The magnificent images and curious revelations accompanying the recent announcement of the discovery of HMS Gloucester, lost in 1682 and relocated in 2007, brings to the fore once again the importance of these old shipwrecks.
Unlike the interest shown by divers and authorities in the UK, sports divers in Ireland, with the exception of a dedicated few, seem altogether disinterested in this wonderful aspect of exploring our seas.
There is no shortage of historic shipwrecks around Ireland!
A lack of disinterest also seems to be the default stance taken by the Irish authorities. Their often stated position being that, budgets are unable to cope with additional finds and their preservation! And to be fare, this is apparently true, and those archaeologists at the coal face have not been behind the door in the past when it comes to providing licences to divers who have expressed interest in looking for shipwrecks of historic or archaeological interest.
Sadly, for one reason or another, little time is afforded by those participants in an adventure sport to explore our coastline, and seem content with repeatedly diving in familiar haunts.
A shipwreck can be found quite innocently by accident, but after initial discovery and reporting, which is compulsory, a licence is required for any further diving investigations. Unless, it is less than 100 years old – and even then, other restrictions may apply.
The image shown here is of a very large intact coppered rudder being measured by Irish divers, lying intact on the Kish Bank. Quite fascinating, the large quite well held together wooden vessel from which it is believed to be from, is lying adjacent. Few seem interested in any further investigation of this precious time capsule of maritime history.
Discovering, reporting and surveying is one thing, obtaining a licence for excavation or object retrieval comes with additional and more expensive prerequisites with further any licence to be granted.
Although there is a small team of underwater team archaeologists attached to the National Monuments Service doing sterling work, it remains a fact that, they are neither sufficiently staffed, equipped or financed to actively explore the thousands of shipwrecks that lie in the waters around and within our coastline. This dedicated but small cohort of underwater archaeologist can only respond to reported finds, which must feel like that they are operating with one hand tied behind their backs.
An additional investigative unit that could actively chase down history or follow up on the wonderful seabed surveys provided by INFOMAR only requires a will and money. The will is there, and I am confident that Irish taxpayers would love to see the exploitation and further discovery of historic shipwrecks that could be accomplished by such expansion.
|09/05/2022||Fishermen, TRAWLS & SNAGS||
Fishermen, Trawls & Snags
Catching fish, not losing nets and finding shipwrecks has been made all the easier, thanks to the marvellous seabed surveys delivered by INFOMAR for the Geological Survey and Marine Institute of Ireland. Their data and its quality are excellent and your PC or phone does the rest.
Before INFOMAR we had a Global Positioning Service, GPS, provided by satellites. If you had good satellite receiving equipment (Even a mobile phone,) along with good charts, Admiralty, Kingfisher, Decca and local knowledge, you had a lot.
Before GPS there was Decca and Loran. Developed during WW2 these were systems that enabled the positioning of aircraft and ships. Post WW2 they became commercial and were operated by scattered land-based radio transmitting stations. If you had the expensive and extremely cumbersome-at-first receivers triangulating your position, coupled with the charts that were developed for it, a system of ‘Chains’, colours, letters and numbers, you were away it – on a good day.
Before Decca there was your eye! Fishermen had to rely on land marks, transits (e.g. The Church steeple in line with the harbour bar – keep out!), and maybe a bit of sounding, in order to remember good ground and to avoid ‘bad ground’. Catching a snag, ‘peaks or wigs’, losing or damaging a net in an old shipwreck was a costly business. If the weather was foggy you could forget it, or take a chance – and maybe have a bad day.
Extremely intuitive from long years of experience, fishermen wrote down and even sketched all their info into copy-books or on to graph paper. Cod there in July, whiting over there in September etc. When Decca came along with the ‘chain’ system, they were able to overlay it on the graph paper and come up with new charts of their own, ones which have proved to be extremely accurate.
The old fishermen’s’ charts here, are; Arklow Bank and surrounding area, Cahore Point and surrounding area. These were very generously given to me by a fishermen from Wicklow, and normally, fishermen could be very sensitive about parting with their treasured trawls & snags.
One of the boats was the Silver Scout.
Look closely at some of the fishermen’s remarks, snags and wrecks (e.g. Toop)
The third is a working record of several years wreck hunting by various divers on the Kish and Bray Banks.
|18/03/2022|| ENDURANCE - A 'staunch' ship & heroic crew.||
Days after WWI commenced, the Norwegian built ship, Endurance, captained by Ernest Shackleton, sailed to conquer the South Pole. Her support ship, Aurora, later commanded by the, New Zealander, Joseph Stenhouse. It was the the zenith of Antarctic exploration, and Irishmen were disproportionately represented in the crews of the ill fated expedition, which failed when the Endurance was crushed by ice and sank in November 1915. Accounts of deaths and survival amongst its crew have become legend, from a time described as the 'Heroic Age'.
Shackleton and Stenhouse joined the Great War and were in command of PC61 when it rammed and sunk the the German submarine UC33 off the southeast coast of Ireland in 1917. The attack took place during a controversial period, when German submarine minelayers were inexplicably being sunk by their own mines. Three were lost in this area in a short space of time and sabotage was strongly suspected.
(The b/w photograph was taken by Frank Worsley and appears at odds with the internet image of the recently rediscovered Endurance 3 kms below the ice. The canvas on the stern rail is missing.)
|27/11/2021||Where Did You Get That Hat
( The Diver's Red Cap )||
A reader might expect that the familiar image of the celebrated diver and adventurer, Jacque Cousteau, depicted in his red woolly hat says it all. The red divers’ hat, already emblematic, quickly became a fashion statement, but without any explanation as to why a diver’s head covering should be red........
.....The wearing of red caps was never exclusive to divers. The practice of wearing one is ancient, prevalent in the Middle East and in ancient Greece. Ancient Rome of 210 B.C. and that culture’s Goddess, Libertas, is depicted holding a pileus – a red cap that signified freedom bestowed on slaves. Even the Three Wise men wore red caps.
'Adventures of the Famine Diver William Campbell'
A new book by Roy Stokes||
William Campbell was born in 1813 and began his ‘celebrated’ career constructing harbours in Scotland in diving bells. He contracted to the Board of Public Works in Ireland and built harbours & piers right around its coast during the period of the Great Famine.
Campbell advanced into the new diving suit and helmet and learned how to detonate explosives underwater with an electric charge. He built piers and cleared harbours and estuaries of sunken wrecks. He was eventually appointed Chief Superintendent of Works at the Royal Harbour of Kingstown.
Ten years later he departed Kingstown under mysterious circumstances in the family schooner Lucy, ex revenue cutter Wellington, on an adventurous voyage to Australia in 1864.
He and his family never returned to Europe, settling in South Australia and co founding the town of Streaky Bay.
When abandoned, wrecked or discarded vessels got in the way of development, they were either removed or just built upon as they lay in the bag end of harbours. Consequently, during latter day re development churn, shipwrecks are being exposed under city streets, parks and buildings around the world. Some were abandoned on site and others were washed inshore during freak weather events, thus demonstrating that water once flowed where man-made structures stand today. Recently, diviners have been pointing to structures and shipwrecks buried far inland!
|12/05/2021||Water Water, Once Everywhere.||
Shipwreck can occur in a surprising number of circumstances. Storm and extreme weather conditions, war, natural phenomena such as earthquakes and eruption of volcanoes and more regularly, from the downstream consequences of negligence or human error. It is extremely rare that a modern and perfectly intact looking bulk carrier becomes a shipwreck for the want of water.
The lake in Julian Luk’s image and story in the Mail, 2016, shows just such a case. Lake Poyang, China’s largest fresh water lake, three times the size of Greater London, is drying up. Connected to the great Yangtze River, it is receding further and earlier each year. The photograph of the stranded ‘high and dry’ ship says it all, and just as with the repeated warnings given about the spread of disease, no one can say they didn’t know.
Award winning photographer Nigel Motyer recently discovered this lost anchor off Sorrento Point in Killiney Bay. Needless to say, this marvellous image was captured by him.
Anchor’s are usually discovered on the seabed after a ship has lost hers, either accidentally or its chain or hawser parted, or have been discarded. Anchors of this magnitude are valuable and become even more valuable when a ship is in need of one.
This is a large iron anchor situated close to the shore and it is difficult to say what ship it might have been parted from, as its chain is pointing to the south. And as its position is in the shelter provided by the elevated Sorrento Road and Terrace, discovering its old shipmate is even more problematic.
The nearby wreck of the large sailing vessel Loch Fergus, wrecked in 1899 on the shore at Shanganagh, is a candidate, but at somewhat of a distance away. There are few other candidates, shipwrecks, that provide a fit with this anchor and its position.
These anchors have been recovered by fishermen and divers in the past and have found new use as moorings for vessels. Given the status of the occupants of Million Dollar Row, Sorrento Terrace, Dalkey, a resident may have been popping in and tied up after a long voyage from the Bahamas.
If readers have any suggestions – mail.
|05/04/2021||An Unknown Unknown||
A treasure, presently of inestimable value, was recovered from a shipwreck at the Greek island, Antikythera, NW of the island, Crete, in 1901. This small island is strategically located across the route from the Aegean Sea into the Western Mediterranean and known to have been the haunt of pirates for centuries. This remarkable find takes the form of a complicated piece of bronze clockwork or automaton, and has taken the subsequent interval of time for scientists to reach some working understanding of it, a process which is still in progress. It was recovered from a ship built of elm, constructed circa 200 BC, and has been labelled the ‘2000 year old computer’ and the ‘Antikythera Mechanism’.
|23/12/2020||'ALL MEASURES NECESSARY' - The 1918 Flu and Biological Warfare.||
During WW1, 1918, a terrible virus was unleashed on mankind - it was called 'FLU'. Whether it derived from poor animal sanitation or was the result of a biological attack against animals that leaped and infected mankind, no one has been able to discover.
It invaded men in the trenches, in camps and hopsitals, women and childern at home and in the streets, killing millions. It was not defeated, it just slinked off into obscurity leaving untold misery and depression.
Scientists have been warning for a century that a similar virus could 'escape' into the populations of the world and cause similar devastation - or even worse. Few have heeded the advise and we are now in the midst of a grim reaper who has returned, intent on further devastation. Man must evolve to survive.
This story has been relaunched on the ouzelgalley.net website and is being updated daily.
|23/12/2020||Pirates & Smugllers 'Tween Bray & Wicklow||
...At the height of the rampage of 'piratical privateers', operating between the coasts of Ireland and England in 1780, there were almost no reported instances of smuggling anywhere near Bray. However, one could easily discern from the newspaper reports that privateers and smugglers were repeatedly being mentioned, ‘off Bray Head’ or ‘off Wicklow’. Always close to a large sea cavern along that coast called the Brandy Hole...
|18/10/2020||MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE||
The English barque, 'Bay of Bengal', set sail from Port Talbot, Wales in March 1905, and along with her crew of 25, they were never seen again.
A bottle was found by a woman from Ballygarret on the shore at Donaghmore, county Wexford, several weeks later, and the message within, stated that the 'Bay of Bengal' was lost in sight of a ruined church. There was one right beside where the bottle was found.
Ireland's undwater survey oraganistaion INFOMAR discovered a wreck in recent years on the seabed just off Donaghmore, pointing to the real possibility that it could be the 'Bay of Bengal'. Two more bottles with messages from the 'Bay of Bengal' were also located. Attempts will be made to identify the wreck in the the coming months. http://ouzelgalley.net/ouzelgalley/message-in-a-bottle/
|24/08/2020||‘Adventures of the Famine Diver William Campbell’
A new book by ROY STOKES||
William Campbell began his ‘celebrated’ career working in diving bells, constructing harbours in Scotland. He contracted to the Board of Public Works in Ireland and built harbours right around the coast during the period of the Great Famine.
Campbell advanced into the new diving suit and helmet and learned how to detonate explosives underwater with an electric charge. He built piers and cleared estuaries of sunken wrecks and was eventually hired as Chief Superintendent of Works at the Royal Harbour of Kingstown.
Ten years later he departed Kingstown under mysterious circumstances in the family schooner Lucy, ex revenue cutter Wellington, on an adventurous voyage to Australia in 1864.
He and his family never returned and eventually settled there to co found the town of Streaky Bay.
|09/08/2020||UC 47 REDISCOVERED||
A team of technicians and archaeologist led by Mexican archeologist Rodrigo Pacheco Ruiz, a researcher of the University of Southampton, have rediscovered the remains of the German WW1 mine-laying submarine UC47. The submarine was sunk off the coast of Yorkshire in November 1917 when it was rammed by British naval craft after a chance encounter. The submarine and was then depth-charged while still lying on the seabed. There were no survivors.
Her commander Gunther von Wigankow (Also served on UB12 and UB17) had only recently replaced her commander-from-launch, Paul Hundius, who was considered an ‘Ace’. He wreaked havoc against shipping in the George’s Channell and right around the coast of Ireland during 1917 and 1918, while in command of submarines, UB16, UC47 and UB103.
All that has been said about ‘war crimes’ has made little difference, man continues to disappoint. It was a term not in use during WW1, and despite regrettable actions by both sides, some more hounourable by commander Hundius during his service, would have been considered ‘above and beyond’, certainly by some of his rescued victims.
Commander Hundius was lost with all of his crew in September 1918, when in command of UB103, considered to be the last German submarine to have passed out through the Dover Straits in WW1.
|12/06/2020||Spanish Armada Ireland||
The local organistaion, Spanish Armada Ireland, Grange, county Sligo, has gone from strength to strength with their symposiums held annually at Grange. Following their musical evening, 'The De Cuellar Suite' held in September, 2019 they have launched a very classy film production of the wrecking of three Spanish Armada vessels at Streedagh, Grange in 1588. It depicts the subsequent adventures of the survivor, Captain Cuéllar, as he made his way through Ireland and England and eventually back to Spain. Their work in the area and on these projects stand as a fine example of cultural awareness, and demonstrates what can be achieved with dedication and determination. https://www.spanisharmadaireland.com/
|20/02/2020||21st CENTURY MARIE CELESTE||
Described as a ghost ship, the 77 metre motor vessel Alta was abandoned more than a year previously. She has finally washed up under cliffs west of the charming little village of Ballycotton, East-Cork. A fishing village with remarkable history of both shipwrecks and saving lives from distressed vessels.
Perched on rocks under the popular cliff-walk, the area has had many shipwreck-victims dashed on its rocks. Fear once crawled through the village, when it was believed that the devil had landed from a 19th century shipwreck in the same area, after his tail could be seen trailing between his legs. It turned out to be a china-man with platted hair !
This stranded vessel was unmanned and said to have been hijacked a number of times. Shipwreck is always owned by someone, and no doubt the present owner of MV ALTA will be able to provide an answer to her year-long mystery of abadonement.
A somewhat larger vessel with a very similar name, was barred from a South-American port not so long ago when thousands of spiders erupted from the hold of the ship after it was opened - Pandora can be full of surprises!
The search for one of the most important vessels that sailed in the ill fated Spanish Armada of 1588, the Rata Encoronada, will continue on the coast of Mayo during 2020. A group of amateur researchers and divers based in Ireland will continue the search with high hopes of a successful discovery.
|07/01/2020||The Story of the 'Willow' and Irish shipping during WW2.||
John McEvoy and the ship Irish Willow (previously Otto)
After Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union, the President of Estonia,
travelled to Dublin, and said: “We will never forget John McEvoy”.
Who was he? Why is he ‘unforgettable’ to Estonia? Here are some answers:
A remarkable story from a period when Ireland struggled to maintain its independence and neutrality. This was a desperate period during which just a few Irish vessels played a vital role feeding the population of Ireland during a commercial blockade in WW2.
|05/12/2019||A NEW BOOK !
The Story of a Wreck||
A new book on the wreck of the Lusitania has been lauched today by the custodians of Ireland's ship wreck heritage - Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht. Bound to be revealing, it is penned by employees of the Underwater Archaeolgy Unit of that department, who who been involved in the constant monitoring of the wreck and the defense of Ireland's rights and procedures regarding the wreck for a number of years.
Be the first to right a short review PLEASE!
|13/11/2019||Battle Of The Piers||
A new short story from 'Tales from the Ouzel Galley'. The Carlisle Pier in Dun Laoghaire - was not always called thus, and was once known after the man who designed and built it. Despite opposition from a competitor engineer, it was completed and changed the fortunes of the railway and steam packet companies in Ireland. It is in a derelict condition now and is being considered for redevelopment. Should its name revert to what it was once was? Read full details - http://ouzelgalley.net/ouzelgalley/battle-of-the-piers/
|12/10/2019||Comment on Wreck Statistics from 1863||
French Statistics of Wrecks Compiled by the Bureau Integritas 1863
Mercantile Gazette, Friday, January 15, 1864.
[The above publication reported on a lengthy document produced by the “Bureau Integritas” that had given a detailed account on the causes of shipwrecks over a number of years. The Bureau also owned up to its own inadequacy in the matter of recording details of incidents, injury or loss to maritime commerce, when compared to the excellent record of the UK.] The forgoing is paraphrased.
It could be deduced from the figures published, that the losses and damage were escalating through the range, almost annually, at the critical period when sail was giving way to steam. It was also a period of burgeoning industrial traffic and migration, and the American Civil War probably added to the increased volumes.
The costly maintenance of sailing vessels was a temptation to which some owners succumbed, choosing to ignore or ‘long finger’ the obvious dangers. Not unlike today, extreme weather events took their toll – always.
1863 was considered to be ‘one of the most lamentable for Maritime Assurers’ and from the figures presented in the article, it was also considered that ‘1863 was one of the most disastrous years on record’. The conclusions also stated; All calculations of probabilities were baffled in 1775 by the hurricane of November 11,[Note 1.] in 1821 the hurricane of December 21, in 1836 by that of November 27, and 1863 by that of December 2.’
Note 1 - There had in fact been a series of hurricanes during the latter half of 1775, the worst been described as the ‘Independence’ or ‘Newfoundland Hurricane’.
|31/08/2019||DREVAR'S GOLD & WELLINGTONG'S PENNIES||
An exciting NEW! Story of shipwreck and a lost 'treasure' of gold on the Irish Coast, and 19th century banking intrigue!
|15/08/2019||The Search For The Falco Blanco||
RTE - Search for the Falco Blanco
RTE are presently running a series of podcasts by William Boucher Hayes. They capture previous and more recent efforts to locate the remains of the Spanish Armada ship, Falco Blanco, lost in 1588.
Stories of treasure hunting and shipwrecks fascinate, and Mr Hayes is especially commendable, for his attention to local history and the characters who were involved through the years.
A very entertaining story.
Supposedly lost somewhere off Renvyle Point, northwest Galway, a search around ‘Ship Rock’ in nearby Ballynakill Harbour might yield some results.
|30/05/2019||Search for King Rat Continues||
Spanish Armada 1588.
One of the most imporatnt vessels included in Spain's failed invasion attempt of England in 1588, the Rata Encoronada, resumed this year. Having completed a survey in Blacksod Bay, Mayo in 2018, with no result, the search recommenced in 2019. No finds have been reported to date, and it is expected that the search will continue.
With a favourite of King Philip of Spain aboard the Rata, Don Alonso De Leiva, a man of rank and some reputation, the ship was of considerable importance.
Having figured prominently during the battle in the English Channell, it is believed she was badly damaged, and suffered during the long stormy voyage around Scotland and Ireland, in a desperate attempt to return to Spain.
She entered Blacksod in September 1588 and became the subject of some local and official intrique before she was wrecked.
Locating the shipwreck would be of significant interest to historians and archaeoloists, not to mention all those travelling the Way of the Wild Atlantic.
|30/05/2019||Gold Off Donegal||
The largest liner, Empress of Britain, sunk by a German bomber during WW2, is reported to have gold worth a billion euro still 'remaining' in the wreck, lying in 500 metres. Attempts by a proffessional salvage company to recover it are underway.
|08/08/2018||When is a Wreck not a Wreck?||
An answer seems easy, but not always obvious. A wreck might be raised and float again. It might sink again, immediately or soon after – and become a wreck again. It may be repaired and live out many years afloat. Alternatively, the raised wreck may be towed away and scrapped. In each case bar one, it will continue to be referred to as a ‘wreck’. For our purposes, we want to know if it has remained a wreck, and where it lies!
ID No 6825, the NESTORIAN, is listed in our database (and others) as having wrecked off Jack’s Hole, Mizen Head, between Arklow and Wicklow Head, on the east coast of Ireland. Under the command of captain David Cowans(Cowen) with a crew of ‘twenty two, composed of men of all nations’, the relatively new 800 ton American timber sailing ship struck the Arklow Bank in November, 1858. Suspected to have badly damaged her hull, the soon barque slipped off the Bank, and was pooped with a large amount of water, carrying away a significant amount of equipment and rigging. Anchors were let go, the pumps failed to stem the ingress of water, and she sank.
The Nestorian was abandoned and then sunk on Novemeber 25, roughly midway between Jack’s Hole and the north end of the Arklow Bank.
A lifeboat from Arklow failed to make the wreck, but Dr Halpins’ lifeboat from Wicklow met the survivors in their own boats, off Bride’s Head, and towed them into Wicklow. Although there were accusations of cowardice, there was only one fatality.
The marine authorities in Dublin were notified of the loss, and on December 4, it was announced that instructions had been issued, to place a ‘wreck buoy’ at the sight of the wreck. The instructions were carried out remarkably quickly, which probably had more to do with a potential salvage claim arising from the abandoned vessel, than a warning to mariners, as the tops of her three masts were clearly visible above the water. The transits of the wreck were published, along with notice of the placing of the wreck buoy.
It seemed a pretty simple business to plot it, refer to INFOMAR (Irish Seabed Surveys), and just go out and find her. We did most of that, and as well as starting with a good estimate of the wreck’s position, we were confident we could see the wreck on the survey. It was a relatively unremarkable vessel, so we decided to leave it alone until something more interesting presented in that area.
A couple of years later, intending to continue a search for the Aid (1804), quite close to the shoreline north of Wicklow; The Murrough to Killoughter, we began to study wreck reports for the area. And much to our surprise, an advertisement for a wreck auction on the shore near Killoughter railway station, was spotted – it was for the Nestorian. It was December 21, and the wreck, ‘Yellow metal- fastened ship’, was to be auctioned on the beach at Killoughter, after being officially declared a wreck, eleven miles further south, and on the opposite side of Wicklow Head.
The answer was simple but not obvious. The Nestorian was carrying a cargo of salt. After lying on the seabed for some weeks, the salt dissolved, the ship became buoyant again, and the 800 ton barque popped up to the surface - just like a mine. A tug was sent from Liverpool, and began a tow to Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire). She got off Wicklow Head, when the stricken vessel fell over and filled again. Remaining barely afloat, the large ship was towed around The Head, and beached near Killoughter – where she was sold by auction and subsequently broke up on site.
Even though the Nestorian floated and travelled again, she remained a ‘wreck’ until broken up on the beach at Wicklow, but just wasn’t ‘wrecked’ in the place first reported.
The whole operation was reminiscent of what became of Lord Cloncurry’s famous cargo of Roman marbles – ‘lost by shipwreck in Killiney Bay’’, when they were lost ‘in’ the Aid after she was blown down off Wicklow Head in 1804, and towed into the same place as the Nestorian. Although this wreck has been declared, located, we believe this not to be the case.
|02/05/2018||Bay of Shipwrecks||
An article about an area on the coast of Wexford, known as 'The Graveyard of a Thousand Shipwrecks' has been posted on the web site Tales of the Ouzel Galley... ouzelgalley.net
The article covers a number of shipwrecks that ocurred between Kilmore Quay and Carnsore Point.
SS Ceres, Balaclava, City of London. Information on places of historic and archaeological interest that are relative to the incidents is also include.
|15/12/2017||SHIPWRECKS OF INTEREST||For those who are seeking special information on a 'shipwreck of interest'; whether it be historic for one reason or another, had a valuable or unusual cargo, or seeking to trace vessels on which their ancestors sailed or crewed and was lost, please contact us if you think we could be of assistance.
It is impossible to enter all of the research accumalated on shipwrecks over years into the databse and we may be able to help with some further information.
Additional to hand information on a shipwreck is not chargeable.
|14/12/2017||New Book - 'Murtai Óg OSuilleabháin (c.1710-1754): A Life Contextualised.' by Gerard Lyne.||This extensively researched book is a wide review of the life and times of the well known folk hero Morty Oge O'Sullivan, and his death at his home in Eyeries on the Beara Penninsula, in 1754
'Captain of the Wild Geese', a smuggler, and a recruiter for the French military, he became the bane of authorities in Ireland. More to the point, after killing the local Revenue man, John Puxley of Dunboy, a reward was put on his head.
In the dark hours of the morning on May 5, the military, having previously sailed from Kinsale, landed at Castletownbere and marched over the mountains in the dark, and attacked Morty's house, killing him, associates, and injuring others. It is said that his boat, a vessel of some interest, was moored nearby and was stripped by the locals, and holed to prevent it being taken. It was however, reputedly burned at her moorings by the attackers.
But where is it now?
The boat, described as a 'sloop' by some, is of special interest, as it may hold some clues to the type of vessel that smugglers of the period in that region, used. Reports that it had been armed and may have been capable of being rowed, are also interesting.
The mounting of a search for the remains are being investigated. If located, any remains might answer many questions regarding the type of vessel and the action on the May 5, 1754.
Morty Oge O'Sullivan was reputedly the master fot the vessel Dutelle/Du Teillay.
The Du Teillay, described as a frigate, was apparently used to return Prince Charles to Scotland in 1745. Whether O'Sullivan was on it at the time, or whether he later received command of the ship, is uncertain.
|14/12/2017||UPDATING irishwrecks.ie DATABASE||Visitors to this site should be aware that updating and fine tuning of data is ongoing. At present, approximately half of the entries have had their Geo locations reviewed and corrected to more accurate positions, where required. The remaining entries will be reviewed and updated within one month from 18/12/2017.
Additional data, entries and images are constantly being added and existing entries reviewed.
|11/09/2017||Irish Wrecks Website New Release and Upgrade.||Irish Wrecks has relaunched website with new features.
The new site is Tablet/Mobile friendly and offers new features like a Grid Search and Search by Wreck ID. The authors of Irish Wrecks are continually updating site and site records and striving to add new features especially in it's unique Geo Searches. The site will also be adding a tutorial to assist users with queries.
|03/08/2017||ARKLOW Update||Infomar seem to have finished surveying the Arklow Bank and Bays area and moved southward. Many new anomailies and shipwrecks have been identidied in the remarkeable imagery of the seabed. The wreck of the 19th century SS Hellenis was mentioned earlier, and is now beleived to have been the cause of a lot of the confusion relating it to the 'Arklow Submarine'. Whether or not the remains of a missing submarine lies on the Arklow Bank - is anybody's guess now.
The wreck of the Cameo was dived slightly north of its chartered position and should be a great wreck dive for sports divers.
|14/12/2016||New Wreck Finds off Arklow||Following detailed surveys by Infomar and some Dublin based divers in 2016, new shipwrecks have been located and scanned. Infomar scanned in some detail two wrecks; the Cameo, and an old steamer in a previously undesignated area. A group of divers from Dublin had been looking for the 'Arklow Submarine' nearby and dived the remains of the steamer. It is believed to be the screw steamer Hellenis, wrecked in 1869.
The steamer was bult in 1861 and was an early and briefly owned steamer of the Palgrave Murphy shipping company. There is little previously written about this ship and seems to have fallen between the cracks of maritime history and accounts of Murphy acquisitions. Being iron, the wreck is in relatively good condition and its image profile is very like a submarine - possibly leading to it been mistaken for the 'Arklow Sub' all these years.
Other anomalies have been detected and are being investigated at present.
Results of the Infomar seabed survey will be out soon and are eagerlly awaited.
- BETWEEN THE TIDES -||Authors of this web site have just released a new publication through the publishers, Amberley Books.
The book adresses the history of ships, shipwreck and diving. A number of short stories help to illustrate different aspect of the developement of ships, wrecking, and the causes. Wreckings from early times have predicated subsequent attempts to recover valuable cargoes and to inflame controvarsy between ship owners, land owners and local inhabitants that came to be known as 'wreckers'. Such adventures continues to captivate the imagination of man.
Accounts of shipwreck are from the 18th century through the mass maritime emigration years, to the attacks by U-boats around Ireland during WW1. The book also describes various wreck locating projects that have been undertaken by the author and diving companions.
More details can be viewed in the 'Publications' section of this web site.
|21/02/2015||Lord Cloncurry's 'Most Valuable Cargo'||The remains of a ship, which was widely believed to have been that of the Aid, were discovered at Killoughter, county Wicklow in 1985/6/7. Receiving significant publicity at the time, the discovery was made by a team of divers, led by Professor Dillon from UCD.
The owner of a valuable cargo on board the ship, was Lord Valentine Cloncurry, who was still on his Grand Tour in the Med. He was collecting and returning ancient and valuable artefacts to Ireland. One of his shipments was carried in the brig Aid, and left Leghorn in 1803. The Aid wrecked on the coast of Wicklow in 1804.
The underwater find, attracted excited publicity, but none of Cloncurry’s ‘most valuable cargo’ was located. The search for this shipwreck was a well organised and respectably funded project.
After our own study of the subsequent detailed report and representations of the artefacts that were recovered from the wreck, and described in it, it is now believed, that this shipwreck could not have been the Aid.
Our team will proceed to Wicklow in 2015 to survey and dive the area where the shipwreck is believed to have ocurred, with high expectations of further finds!
|26/08/2014||The Hunt for Spanish Armada Shipwreck off Spanish Point||The hunt for the wreck of the Spanish Armada vessel, San Marcos off Spanish Point in county Clare, continues. Lost in 1588, hopes of a discovery have risen, after a recent survey has produced some inetersting side-scan and magnetometer returns.
|26/08/2014|| ||An additional search facility has now been added to the database. The enquirer can now search by CARGO. If one chooses 'Search by Cargo' and enters, gold, linen, tin, iron etc., ships sunk with similar cargo will be returned on Google map. The enquirer can then click on the tag for further details of the shipwreck.
|26/06/2014||Discovery of the Pomona||It is confirmed that the wreck of the American SV Pomona has been located off Wexford. She lies in the position as reported at the time of her loss in 1859. Extensive wreckage has been filmed by a team of divers from Dublin and the find has been reported to the authorities. It is hoped to complete an elementary survey in order to understand the wreck site and present findings.
It is also hoped, that the local museum in Enniscorthy, where some artefacts from the ship are on display, may be interested in the find.
|19/05/2014||Emmigrant Ship Pomona||A team of Irish divers believe they have relocated the remains of the emmigrant vessel 'Pomona' at the Blackwater Bank, county Wexford.
The ship was wrecked when it struck the Bank in 1859. There was a catastrophic loss of 424 lives when she sunk off Blackwater Head.
Attempts will be made this season to confirm the identity of the wreck and report it to the relevant authorities.
|16/05/2014||Shipwreck Database - updates.||The shipwreck data base is undergoing a number of updates.
Completion of Lat & Lon for every entry.
A 'Reference' table which allows viewer to see the full details of the reference sources.
An 'Event' table which allows viewer a quick interpretation of the cause of loss. E.G.'LT' = Loss by torpedo.
A weather table will be added, which will allow the viewer to access unique early weather conditions for around Ireland - not avialable elswhere.
|25/07/2013||Another Sailing Ship Sinks||
It is indeed regrettable that another beautiful sailing ship, the Astrid, has been lost. It is very commendable that all aboard were saved.
It is ironic, that probaly less than a century ago, and at times, much less than that, such an event might have ocurred in obscurity, and word of the loss might have taken days to filter into the public domain. Today, these events appear in the media - 'live'.
Notwithstanding our modernity, they still ocurr. And it would seem that, all of the sail training in the world has not subsituted for a working engine.
UPDATE - There was a successful salvage of this vessel.
|05/05/2013||The 'Spirit of Gathering' Overcomes Archaeological Concerns for Lusitania Shipwreck.||It has been announced that an exploratory venture into the wreck of the Lusitania by Gregg Bemis, a man unlightingly described as and 'American businessman', has been authorised by Irish officials.
Previously a nasty source of contention between the two, but now in the new spirit of the 'Gathering' and 'all things that benefit tourism and interest in Ireland', fears of Ireland's archaeologists have been overcome. Permission has recently been granted to Mr Bemis to 'open' the wreck and take a peek inside.
The stated reason for the persistent curiousity, being a wish to confirm whether or not there were high exolosives being illegaly carried in the passenger liner. An admission to a shipment of small arms being aboard, already a matter of record, why further confirmation should merit such a large expenditure of time and money, is surprising.
If found, will it be a surprise? Will it change anything? Would it happen again?
To repeat once more! The fact that this liner and lots of other ships carrying arms and munitions from America, were sunk by German U-boats - had little or no bearing on America entering the war against Germany two years later.
The fact that there are numerous other very interesting 'goodies' aboard, is seemingly of little interest to the investigative salvors.
Never the less, and not unlike the interest won on the coat-tails of the Titanic, it can only be good for Cork and the 'Wonders of Salvage'.
One wonders if, this new 'Gathering' spirit, seen as being a benefit to Ireland for what ever reason, why it then should not be extended to embrace those interested in investigating and salvaging artefacts from those tantalising wrecks of the Spanish Armada that lie scattered in shallow waters around the coast of Ireland?
|21/01/2013||IRISHWRECKS FINAL UPDATES||There are now approximately 400 pictures of shipwrecked vessels tagged to individual entries. It is not envisaged that there will any further bulk uploading of shipwreck images.
There will now be a programme of adding images and video to the 'Gallery'. These will have an association with shipwreck and shipwreck sites around Ireland.
There are over 10,000 enrtries with a Lat/Lon entry. The remaining 4000+ entries will have Lat/Lon entries added this year.
Other than day to day updating, this is considered to be the final work required to bring this database to as near as complete as possible.
|06/12/2012||The Hand of Man||A busy sea, modern and fully equiped ships, and still they collide.
Most recently, the 485ft Baltic Ace collided with the 440ft container ship Corvus J, heading from Scotland to Belgium, in darkness off the coast of the southern Netherlands. The 'Fatal Trilogy', man, weather and ship, or at least one aspect of it - man, and sometimes that's all it takes, has seen fit to sink another ship and kill sailors.
No matter how advanced we become, it would seem, that there is no escaping man's arrogance.
|23/11/2012||Islands Do Disappear||It has recently been announced that, New Moore Island, in the Bay of Bengal, small and all as it is, or was - has disppeared. Recorded on maps and other imagery, it is, dare I say it, - Old Moore, both Francis and Theophilus - gone. If it can happen now, could it have happened to those mythical islands that we can't find today?
|18/01/2012||Two Shipwrecks One Hero||
We know when one year passes to the next there will be more shipwrecks and more loss of life. Its the nature of life in a precarious element. The loss of the passsenger liner Concordia on the coast of Italy and the fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme on the coast of Ireland, were two terrible and avoidable events for different reasons...... Although they are sometimes called accidents, both vessels were seemingly well equiped and both struck rocks in well known areas. On the face of it, you might say that high-tec marine navigating equipment and well know marine guidelines and regulations would make accidents like these almsost impossible. There are however mitigating circumstances in one case.
The Concordia is not it...........fair weather, excellent visibilty, excellent equipment and 'bump'. The huge liner comes so close to land that it hits it. It's hard to find one - an excuse. The ensuing scramble for the lifeboats seemed totally out of place with apparently minimum danger, until that is, the captain joined the rush. The reported radio communication between the coast guard and the captain was sureal. The poor captain did not want to return to his ship to oversee its total evacuation because it had "got dark"!! ........Most shipwrecks would seem to be driven by three factors - human, the ship and weather. In the case of the Concordia only one factor would seem to have been at play - human.
............In the case of the Tit Bonhomme there would seem to have been two - human and weather. In this unfortunate case, the weather was terrible with restricted visibilty but there are also some questions to be asked in relation to navigation and general equipment. Making the entrance to Glandore Bay would be tricky in such conditions but with the help of good equipment it should be manageable. It is well known that fishermen have come under sustained pressure from increasing regulations, which seems to be pushing them into taking risks with weather, in order to make catches. What was more curious, was the inordinate number of non nationals who formed the crew. Making me wonder, where have all the Irish fishermen gone and why? To his eternal credit, the brave skipper's last care was for his crew. God be good to them all.
|13/01/2012||Deliver Us From Evil||Providence not only means God, it is also the name of an 'Irish' based exploration firm. This company is now busy exploring the Kish Bank basin off Dublin for the precious carbon fuels. The Middle East may not only have the precious carbons in common with Ireland, the name Kish may also have some interesting origins there. Notwithstanding ancient history, let us hope that Providence will deliver the Irishalites from the evil of the Troika!
It is not a new 'Red Top', nor is it a slight on working girls. I believe that 'Loyd's List', a diminutive miracle publication in maritime intelligence, was once known as the 'Whore's Gazette', and of great interest to unlikely lady 'readers of the night. As well as informing it's readers of the prices being achieved for commodities, silver & gold, etc., it also informed them as to the wherabouts of ships, and when they might be expected in port. And so, preparations could be made!
|27/09/2011||THE DEVIL'S METAL||The silvery stuff, at one time was considered by some to be more valuable than gold. It's subsequent fickle fortunes went south and seen many investors get 'burnt'. Right up to the present day! A company that has seen many successes in marine salvage have done it again!! Odyssey, a sophisticate marine salvage company has struck silver off the west coast of Ireland. The company charms me no end with it's almost 'buccaneering' salvage stories from the high seas. Proving what men can accomplish when provided with the lure of a profitable return.
In this most recent case, the locating of the WW2 freighter SS Gairsoppa, carrying a huge cargo of silver, the story is as usual - epic. The long journey from India, the huge cargo of silver, torpedoed, only one survivor, in the deepest water ever attempted, etc., etc. The first questions that came to mind were: Is silver really worth the huge outlay? Was it carry anything else? Coal fired freighters commonly refueled at South Africa on these journeys and sometimes took on addittional and the more vaulable cargoes of gold. Another thought also struck me -that was. Did results from the Irish National Seabed Survey help in the location of this wreck? You can't beat a good story.
|05/08/2011||Another Armada Find!
Archaeology on a shoe string.||Once again we have another wreck from the Spanish Armada 1588 discovered in Irish waters. Several have already been found, almost nothing done with them (with some exception), and now we have another near Burtenport in Donegal. Why one should get priority over no less than three together at Streedagh Strand, I don't know.
It is nevertheless great news but I fear the 50K euro allotted for the excavation will not nearly go far enough.
Maybe there's a possibilty of sponsorship froma bank!!
|26/07/2011||Wrecks Galore||Its the summer season and as usual there are no shortage of wreck reports.
To begin with, another expedition is being organised to visit the wreck of the Lusitania. The reported reason for the visit, to determine the cause for her sinking. Perhaps I wasn't paying attention but I thought she was struck by a torpedo and resulting or secondary internal explosions. It seemed clear she was carrying munitions of one kind or another and at one time or another. That's what a country does when its at war - does it not? Perhaps there is another reason?
The next is the excavation of the Royal Charter shunk off Anglesea, a wreck I thought was all 'fished out'. Apparently there always a bit left and the the word 'gold' still presents a powerful reason to invest.
To my excitable imagination, the third is the most interesting. An exploration group searching the Baltic seas between Sweden and Finland have discovered a very unusual anomally on the sea bed at 90m's. The object is almost perfectly round, 60ft in diameter and some scour marks leading to it. The obvious jump to conclusion is a 'flying saucer'. Have a look yourself. The picture is compelling, but is it genuine??
|26/06/2011||MORE SHIPWRECKS & PICTURES||We are continuing to add more records of shipwrecks. We have also added a large amount of photographs associated with the shipwreck entries. In all of these entries we have accredited the picture to the publication it was extracted from. This work is also continuing.
Pick a known wreck and have a look and let us know what you think.
|02/06/2011||UC42 - Another raid by divers.|| It didn't take long. A lost submarine believed by some to be a figment of imagination, or at best, completely dispersed by naval divers during WW1. UC42 was relocated in remarkably ‘whole’ condition during a side scan survey in 2010 in the area of the Kinsale Gas pipeline. The word got out and divers descended on it - fine so far.
It has now been discovered that some divers are interfering with the remains of the German submariners’ belongings within the wreck and also attempting to hack off its bronze propellars. I presume the object of their efforts was to obtain mementos, objects which could not be displayed in public without being declared to the authorities.
Anyone familiar with only just some of the details surrounding the loss of this submarine would be aware that it is believed all of the crew were lost in this submarine - making it their grave. This of course begs the question of designation and how or why it was not designated an official war grave, bestowing on it some protection from such acts - maybe.
A completely separate reason why this wreck should not be interfered with, is its archaeology, and how some detective work might resolve a mystery surrounding its final hours.
This submarine was detected on the seabed by a naval patrol out of Queenstown in 1917. Using hydrophones, noises were detected emanating from inside the submarine. The 'tapping' noises were speculated by naval intelligence at the time to be either its crew effecting repairs, or to be 'morse' in an attempt to signal for help . The submarine was depth charged and divers were sent down to inspect the wreck.
A diver reported that he partly entered the wreck and seen various items, including bodies. Some items were recovered from the wreck for confirmation and intelligence. It was stated by the diver(s) that the stern of the vessel was 'blown off' or severely damaged. It was conjectured the damage was caused by one of its own mines.
Having seen the wreck, I can say that this damage is not apparent and neither was there any apparent way of entering the submarine. Some of the mines are missing and some are still in situ. So, the question arises. What exactly happened to this submarine, and was there an attempt by the submariners to signal their distress, only to be destroyed?
There also remains some mystery as to the British authorities attitude to the U boat menace of WW1, and actions by their agents on the seas and in munitions production facilities in Germany.
What exactly took place in disposing of the bodies when UC44 was discovered off Waterford? This was a similar minelayer which was raised and removed to Dunmore East, roughly around the same time as UC42?
UC42 is an unfortunate war grave, its dead suffered greatly and it is important to discover exactly just what occurred before and after they died. It is therefore important that this wreck is not interfered with and that nothing is removed. The deaths of these young men must be respected.
Must we wait until 2017 when the '100 year rule' will apply. This wreck is easily accessed and I suspect that there will be little left by then.
|22/05/2011||My Enemy’s Enemy||Why would Irish people at a time when they were so terribly downtrodden by their English masters, threat Spanish shipwreck victims in thefollowing way?
"….The land and the shore were full of enemies; and when any one of our people reached the beach, two hundred savages and other enemies fell upon him and stripped him of what he had on until he was left in his naked skin..."
Captain Cuellar, Spanish Armada shipwreck survivor from Streedagh Strand, on the coast of Sligo, 1588.
|23/04/2011||The Ferries War||The 'jinxed' ship and the ferry boats that refused to leave Galway got everyone's attention. However, behind the fiasco lies and even bigger one and is surely a sad lesson in how not to run a tourist related business but how best to get a cheap ferry boat or two.
First, get a Paddy to order your ferry boats through the Irish and EU taxpayer. Build them with EU taxpayer's money, get their bottoms' wet only, and then tell the customer they can't be used.
Built for SIX million(published figure) and sold for less than ONE in the space of a couple of years. Mauritious being the lucky winner - this time.
On the plus side, at least Fianna Fail 'hangers on' were not contracted to store them!
In another scandalous waste of EU taxpayer's cash, it is believed that fish farms established under a scheme funded by the EU are about to be dismantled (or maybe sold to another deserving country).
Millions amounting to a figure not revealed have been spent establishing fish farms around Tenerife. Licences, farms, boats, shore facilities, employess etc., etc. were all established. Now that EU taxpayer's money is drying up, operations are to be ceased. Feasabilty study - I'm sure the EU carries out these, because they certainly insist on them for Paddy!
Is there are more dirty washin out there?
|01/04/2011||Believe it or Not - Hi-Brazil||Whilst on holidays recently, I read the book '1420' by gavin Menzies. It essentially makes the case that the Chinese were around the globe long before the 'flat earth' Europeans (A good read). And it was only as a result of their advanced stellar navigation and superior charts that the Europeans where able to follow. More to the point, this book and others, reference 14th and 15th century charts that show an island called Hi-Brazil, situated a couple of hundred miles to the west of Ireland. Despite expeditions, and unproven claims of discovery, it was never proved that the island existed. (I wonder how satisafactory proof could have been provided way back then?)
It nevertheless remains a strong memory in European and Irish mythology and in folklore. It did remind me however of the dive a group of us had some years ago on the west side of Mutton Island, off the coast of Clare, where one of our group recounted having seen huge 'cut stone arches'. The diver was a mature man and a stonemason!
Rumour also has it, that the ongoing Irish Seabed Survey detected an anomally off the west coast of Ireland, and during operations to investigate the area, their ROV was lost.
It just so hapens that in the designated area, there is a very 'shallow' bank(Porcupine) which rises from in excess of 3000 m's to to less than 200m's!
There are also some unusual anomalies in the same area. Have a look, it's online! What say you?
|01/04/2011||UC42. Another step to the end of a mystery and a great dive.||Having dived the wreck in January (A warmer month is recommended!!), I can confirm that apart from the outer hull, the wreck is in surpriningly good condition. All that appears in the various pictures published is good. Some mines do remain in the hull, leaving an air of uncertainty about the safety of such munitions. Some of the forward torpedoes that were carried externally, are not apparent. There does not appear to be one in the stern tube either. (not confirmed)
For me, the issue concerning the actual circumstances surrounding the fate of the crew and where their remains actually are, is still unresolved. This question may only be resolved by entering the hull in order to determine if these are within. Until this is confirmed the wreck should be considered a war grave and threated with the respect it deserves.
|19/01/2011|| Press Release||
It is rumoured that there will be a press release(s) regarding previously 'unknown' wrecks. That is, their precise position after been recently located. One of them I believe to be a German sumarine from WW1, lost off the entrance to Cok harbour. I have searched for this wreck for many years and failed to located her. Given that she is probably still full of mines and torpedoes it may have been just as well!! The fate of her crew after the sub was damaged by one of her own mines is still a mystery and it is very possible, that this wreck may still harbor their remains.
|19/01/2011|| !!!!! UKHO adds pos for UC42!!!!!||
The British Hydrographic Office has updated its position for UC42. The wreck was located in 2010 outside the entrance to Cork harbour where Naval Intelligence had indicated she lay. She is believed to be pretty much intact but possibly dangerous due to live armaments.
|03/12/2010||An Ill Wind.||It is indeed an ill wind that blows no good to someone. This wind comes in the form of Ireland's ex Taoiseach's, Charles Haughey RIP, private yacht 'Celtic Mist' which is now up for sale. This yacht was a replacement for his earlier one that was lost under Mizen Head, west Cork while enroute from his island in the Blaskets some years earlier. Unfortunately, 'Celtic Mist' is probably unsuitable as a replacement sail training vessel for 'Asguard' but does present an interesting opportunity for adventurous entrepreneurs.
Mr Haughey, a man considered to have led the charge into Ireland's 'Tiger era' could be well remembered by guests whilst aboard his yacht during 'Tiger Cruises' in Dublin Bay. It's crew and passengers raising a glass while cruising by financial iconic buildings such as the Financial services centre, O2, and the National Treasury.
I'm sure there are plenty of 'well healed and articulate' punters who benefited from the 'Golden Circle' perfectly willing to cough up a handsome boarding fee for a reminiscent cruise of Dublin's Fair City. And maybe a lot more.
|30/10/2010||Asguard (post the Celtic Tiger)||Will we ever get another sail training vessel like our lost Asguard? It's truly ironic that one the one hand, we have Charles Haughey to thank for Asguard and his successors for taking the money and running. It was decided to abandon any attempts at salvage and just take the insurance check, leaving Asguard at the bottom of the sea. This may be practical but it certainly gives sail training lovers a big hill to climb. A group of Irish divers have recovered a number of important artefacts from the wreck this ship lying in 83 metres. Ship's wheel, bell etc. It is stated that they intend for these to be put on dispaly in our National Maritime Museum. This I presume is the museum in Dunlaogaire that remains closed. Another big hill to climb. We just don't seem to give our maritme heritage chance.
|13/10/2010||Wreck updates.||TITANIC....If someone orders a ship to be steered 'hard to port', does this mean the ship's wheel should be move or rotate round to port (anticlockwise)? Or, does it mean that the ship's tiller/rudder should be moved to port? They are not the same thing and have the complete opposite result.
So it was explained, that this confusion of sailing instructions reigned in the North Atlantic and led to the Titanic steering into the iceberg and not away from it!. Revealed in a recent publication, it and other pertinent facts were covered up and I think we know the rest.
The search for the Belgioso....Recently a number of large timbers were located on the Kish Bank. These would appear to be from the keel/rudder area of a very large wooden ship. Hopes are high as work progresses.
|17/09/2010||Missing Uboat off Cork!||Almost identical to the fate of UC44 of Dunmore East a few weeks earlier, UC42 was damaged by one of its own mines off the entrance to Cork harbour in Sept 1917. This submarine's efforts to either repair or attract attention were detected by naval patrol boats. The sub was depthcharged and it is believed that all of the submariners aboard were killed.
Almost immediately, the submarine was dived on by naval divers and a number of items were recovered and confirmed to be from UC42. It was also reported that the submarine was 'still and buoyant' and the question asked, 'should we raise it'? The reply from Admiralty was in the negative.
The question is: Why can't this sub, supposedly lying quite close to the entrance to Cobh in relatively shallow water not be located?
|14/09/2010||Airtricity and wreck finds.||During a preliminary survey of the Arklow Bank in advance of a proposed farm of offshore wind generators, a number of wrecks were located. Their details and positions are well documented now in a number of sources. Despite this, Irish divers seem oblivious to their presence and show no interest in discovering the remains or identity of these wrecks.(All in very diveable depths.)
It has been reported by one group of divers who did dive one or more of these, that a large chest with unknown contents lies in one of them!
NOTE: Permission to dive 100 year old wrecks must be obtained from the Dept of the Environment. It's not hard!
|13/09/2010||Scuttlebutt||It is not true that the elusive treasure and remains of the lost East Indiaman, 'Count de Belgioioso' have been located. Despite persistant efforts by a team of divers over a number of years, and the location of a number of wooden shipwrecks, confirmation that any were the 'Belgioioso' is improbable. During recent months divers have located and identified a number of heavy ship's timbers, denoting a large wooden wreck. These included a large section of keel and rudder area. However, the ship's identity remains uncertain.