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A magnificent sailing ship wreck from 1852 has been identified in the Baltic Sea.

The Baltic Underwater Explorers technical diving group has announced the identification of the wreck, which was previously known as the ‘bottle ship’. In the course of the findings, it was possible to discover and restore the identity of the vessel, which, both by its state of preservation and its cargo, aroused a lot of emotion
Published: March 15, 2020 - 12:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:26
A magnificent sailing ship wreck from 1852 has been identified in the Baltic Sea.

The Baltic Underwater Explorers technical diving group has announced the identification of the wreck, which was previously known as the ‘bottle ship’. In the course of the findings, it was possible to discover and restore the identity of the vessel, which, both by its state of preservation and its cargo, aroused a lot of emotion in the diving community. Today we know officially that the wreck is the English brig “Regard” from Hull, which sank near the Aland Islands in the autumn of 1852.

The sunken wreck was discovered 4 years ago by Finnish diver Jerry Wilhelmson, who located it resting at a shallow depth in the Åland Islands nature reserve. During the exploration it turned out that the found wreck of the wooden vessel is a real treasure and a real time capsule, which has been preserved in phenomenal condition.

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The brig has settled evenly on the keel at the bottom, and time has been exceptionally kind to it. The ship’s structure is almost intact and most of its components are still in place. What is more, so is the cargo that was carried from the UK. Bottles of root beer from Hull were found at the site, as well as others believed to be wine. Divers investigating the wreck also found porcelain vessels from the Davenport Pottery, made in Longport, and a clay pipe made in London.

The Baltic Sea never stops to fascinate.
In september 2016 Jerry located this untill now unidentified wreck. The Brigg…

Posted by Baltic Underwater Explorers – BUE on Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The real research work, however, began on the surface. Despite the wealth of artefacts discovered on the wreck, the identity of the 19th century sailing vessel still remained a mystery. So it was necessary to go to the archives and devote a lot of time to a meticulous search, which, 168 years after the sinking of the vessel, finally restored her identity and allowed the opening of a new, present-day chapter in the history of the brig “Regard”. The work done in the archives also made it possible to establish that the ship, which left the coast of England in the autumn of 1852, was heading for the then capital of the Russian Empire – St Petersburg.

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Samuli Haataja and Ilkka Järvinen are constantly working through old archives on maritime accidents. They found a notification from the Degerby customs house in December 1852 about a sunken ship southwest of Björkör and immediately notified the BUE team. Once the first clue was found, work continued with old British newspapers, Lloyds archives and other archival material. Piecing together the pieces of the puzzle, the sailing ship that most closely matched the documentation that had been collected underwater was selected.

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The assistance of Dr Robb Robinson of the University of Hull, who helped to locate and access the ship’s original registration documents, and Hanna Hagmark of the Åland Maritime Museum, who pointed the search in the right direction and, as a former student at the University of Hull, helped to put the ship in contact with Dr Robinson, were invaluable in the search and identification of the ship.

Source: Baltic Underwater Explorers

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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