Two 19th-Century Ships Discovered Off Coast of Australia

Two 19th-Century Ships Discovered Off Coast of Australia

Two 19th-Century Ships Discovered Off Coast of Australia

Experts have searched the Indian Ocean for the past four years in an effort to finding Malaysian Airlines ‘ MH370 flight that was vanished in mysterious circumstances in March 2014.

Two 19th-Century Ships Discovered Off Coast of Australia
Shipwrecks discovered off the coast of Western Australia.

Such efforts were unable to find the plane with the exception of some pieces of debris. but during the searching for MH370, researchers discovered the remains of two shipwrecks that were lost during the 19th century. according to Associated press statement.

During an almost three-year, state-sponsored search of Malaysia, China and Australia, the submerged ships were found some 1430 miles off the coast of Australia in 2015. (This initiative ended last year, but since the Malaysian government has approved a new attempt by a private US company to find MH370.)

The Western Australian Museum reported last week that it had identified the ships as merchant vessels from the 19th century which transported coal cargo holds as they sank to the ocean floor.

In order to review sonar and video data collected during searches for MH370, museum experts were contacted by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau. Due to the incompleteness records of ships lost in the area during the 1800s, the museum conclusively could not determine the shipwreck identity.

But Ross Anderson, the museum’s curator of maritime archaeology, reveals in a press release that experts “can narrow the possibilities to some prime candidates based on available information from predominantly British shipping sources.”

One of the wrecks was a wooden ship, which, according to David Williams of CNN, is in a state of advanced degradation. The remains of the cargo and various metal implements (like anchors and fittings) are still visible, but the vessel’s hull structures and timbers have vanished.

Anderson believes that this ship may have been the W. Gordon, which was lost at sea after the brig departed Cape Town, South Africa in June 1876, during a voyage from Clyde, Glasgow to Adelaide, Australia.

Another possible candidate is the barque Magdala, which disappeared in 1882 while traveling from Penarth, Wales to Ternate, Indonesia. Whatever the identity of the vessel, it appears to have come to a violent end.

The ship’s cargo was found scattered across the seabed, suggesting that it went down “as a result of a catastrophic event such as explosion, which was common in the transport of coal cargoes,” Anderson explains in the statement.

The second wreck, which is made of iron, is in better condition than the first. It lies upright on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, and experts were able to determine that it once had at least two decks.

Analysis of a coal sample retrieved from the site suggests that the ship was British in origin. Anderson believes the vessel is most likely the West Ridge, which disappeared on a voyage from Liverpool, England to Bombay, India in 1883.

Both sunken ships would have held crews of between 15 and 30 men, according to Anderson, and it is possible that additional passengers were on board. Sea captains, for instance, sometimes took their wives and children with them on international voyages.

“Then, as now,” Anderson says in the statement, “the disappearance of so many lives would have had a devastating impact on maritime families and communities.”

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