A SUNK 207-year-old whaling ship has been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.
On February 25, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and partners found a sunken whaling ship just off the coast of Pascagoula, Mississippi. CNN reports.
The two-masted wooden brig, referred to as Industrie, was 64 feet long.
The ship was built in Westport, Massachusetts in 1815 and used primarily to hunt sperm whales in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
The industry was active for about 20 years before it was faced with a storm that broke both of its masts and sank it on May 26, 1836.
Researchers believe the ship was manned by a crew composed of black and Native American members, based on documents relating to Industry’s voyages.
Don Graves, the US Assistant Secretary of Commerce, called the discovery “critical” and added that it serves as an important reminder of the “great contributions that Black and Native Americans have made to our country.”
“Black and Native American history is American history,” he said.
“This 19th-century whaling ship will help us learn more about the lives of Black and Native American seafarers and their communities, and the immense challenges they faced on land and at sea.”
The discovery was a joint effort by NOAA and scientists from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and private archeology firm SEARCH, Inc.
Signs of the shipwreck were first spotted by an energy company in 2011, then again in 2017.
This prompted NOAA to dispatch a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to comb the seabed in the area.
After combing through the research and videos recorded by the ROV, a team of shore-based scientists identified the shipwreck as an industry.
An investigation by a Westport Free Public Library librarian also found that Industry’s crew were not injured in the shipwreck.
Instead, the members were safely picked up by another Westport, Massachusetts whaling ship named the Elizabeth, which took them back to New England.
“That was such luck for the men on board,” said James Delgado, senior vice president of SEARCH, Inc.
“If the black crew members had attempted to go ashore, they would have been detained under local law. And if they couldn’t pay for their upkeep in prison, they would have been sold into slavery,” Delgado added.
Other records show Industry didn’t sink immediately after being hit by the storm — this was partly due to the whale oil on board helping the ship stay afloat, the researchers say.
“That there were so few artifacts on board was another important piece of evidence that it was industrial,” said Scott Sorset, a marine biologist at BOEM.
“We knew it was salvaged before it sank.”
About 230 barrels of whale oil were collected from the brig by a sister Massachusetts whaling ship, the report estimates.
Parts of the rigging and one of the four anchors were also removed from Industry before she sank.
NOAA said it is not releasing the exact location of the wreck in order to preserve the site.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/science/4967817/wreck-207-year-old-whaling-ship/ Lost wreckage of 207-year-old whaling ship found off US coast