11 YEARS AGO, the USS Oriskany was scuttled off of Florida to become the world’s largest artificial reef on 17th May 2006.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
63 YEARS AGO, the 64-ton iron ketch John Robb sank in a collision with the tug Falcon off of Outer Harbor on 24th April 1954. (The Falcon is not to be confused with the tug of the same name that sank off of Port Adelaide after a collision with the collier Mintaro in 1906.)
162 YEARS AGO, the 762-ton, 3-masted wooden ship Nashwauk was wrecked at Moana on 13th May 1855. She had been built in Nova Scotia in 1853. An anchor from the Nashwauk is now on display at the corner of Nashwauk Crescent & the Esplanade at Moana.
361 YEARS AGO, the Dutch ship Vergulde Draeck (Gilt Dragon) was wrecked on a reef at Ledge Point, WA on 28th April 1656. It was 307 years before the wreck site was found in 1963. The ship was a 3-year old, 42m-long, 260-tonne 'Jacht' built in 1653.
The two Matthew Flinders anchors found by members of the Underwater Explorers Club of SA in 1973 were lost by Flinders on 21st May 1803. At daylight on that day, Matthew Flinders was preparing to depart from Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago off of Western Australia. Middle Island is the largest island in the archipelago. A fresh breeze started driving the Investigator towards rocks before the sails were loosed. Flinders used the ship’s spare anchors to hold her. He then had to cut two anchor cables just before the ship cleared the rocks at noon. Flinders had lost both his best bower anchor and stream anchor. A bower anchor is one at the bow of the ship. The Investigator’s best bower anchor was over 4m long and weighed over 1 tonne. It had giant flukes sharply offset like a massive arrow. Both anchors were located in Goose Island Bay on 14th January 1973 by members of the Underwater Explorers Club of SA. The anchors were both raised up by the lighthouse ship Cape Don on 19th January 1973. They have now been preserved and restored. The best bower anchor is now located at the SA Maritime Museum at Port Adelaide. The stream anchor was placed in Canberra along with an anchor from James Cook’s Endeavour.
15th April 2017 was the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in the early hours of 15th April 1912 after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean earlier that night. More than 1500 lives were lost in the incident.
ISLE OF WIGHT SHIPWRECK CENTRE & MARITIME MUSEUM
The management of the Isle of Wight Shipwreck Centre & Maritime Museum was taken over by the Maritime Archaeology Trust on 31st March. The museum will be renovated to include a 21st century exhibition that will use state of the art 3D models and virtual reality to take people to sites underwater or get them close and personal to artefacts they would otherwise never see.
The decommissioned HMAS Tobruk (L50) is to be scuttled in Hervey Bay, Queensland
in 2018 to become a dive site and artificial reef. She is a multi-purpose roll on-roll off
transport ship that would deliver troops and heavy transport either directly to the beach
or via landing craft. There is a HMAS Tobruk Military Dive Experience Facebook
The “Historic Shipwrecks Act 1981” and the Regulations to the Act (“Historic Shipwrecks Regulations 2014”) have been amended now and the amendments came in to force on 1st
May. Both the Act and the Regulations can be viewed at www.legislation.sa.gov.au . The
penalty fees have been increased and expiation fees can now be received for alleged
offences. There are also several minor administrative amendments. According to The
Advertiser of 27th April, “The Act currently protects 270 historic wrecks”. According
to the web page found at https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/historic-shipwrecks/laws,
“The Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 protects historic wrecks and associated relics, that are
more than 75 years old and in Commonwealth waters, extending from below the low water
mark to the edge of the continental shelf. Each of the States and the Northern Territory has complementary legislation, which protects historic shipwrecks in State waters, such as bays,
harbours and rivers. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts can also make
a declaration to protect any historically significant wrecks or articles and relics which are
less than 75 years old.” The Advertiser of 27th April goes on to say that “Anyone found
guilty of illegally taking or possessing unregistered relics from SA waters could face fines
three times the original (penalty)”. The amendment to the Act actually sees the maximum
penalty if $5000 increase to $20,000 (4 times the original). The expiation fee for minor
offences is $750. Inspectors now have increased powers.