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Another expedition will try to find the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship

Will modern star maps help find the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance ship, which sank in the Weddell Sea? It turns out that modern star maps can lead to the location of the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s barquentine Endurance.In 1914, the famous traveller, explorer and Antarctic explorer set off with 27 men on
Published: February 24, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:08
Another expedition will try to find the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship

Will modern star maps help find the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance ship, which sank in the Weddell Sea?

It turns out that modern star maps can lead to the location of the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s barquentine Endurance.In 1914, the famous traveller, explorer and Antarctic explorer set off with 27 men on another expedition. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was to last from 1914 to 1917.

The 1914 expedition However, when confronted with extremely difficult conditions, things became seriously complicated. On 14 February 1915, the ship and its crew became trapped by ice. At this point, the dramatic struggle for survival began. In October 1915, the expedition left the Endurance after the growing ice cover severely damaged the vessel. On 27 October 1915, the ice literally crushed and in effect sank the Shackleton’s barquentine. In the aftermath of these events, the members of the expedition made the only possible decision – they set off on foot to the edge of the ice floes. They took what they could and, dragging three lifeboats behind them, made a desperate attempt to fight for survival.

Endurance trapped in the middle of the ice Expedition 2022

Now, more than 107 years after Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship sank in the Weddell Sea, Another expedition has set out on a mission to find the wreck of the Endurance. The expedition aboard the South African icebreaker Agulhas II uses the logbook of one of its crew members, Frank Worsley, and modern technology to achieve its goal.

This is the most unreachable wreck in history. Which makes it the largest hunt of its kind ever – said Mensun Bound, a marine archaeologist and director of exploration, in an interview with the New York Times.

the crew abandons the stranded ship New findings

Three researchers carefully studied the information contained in Worsley’s journal and superimposed it on an image of modern star maps. They presented their findings in a paper they submitted to the Journal of Navigation. They concluded with the hypothesis that the wreck of the Endurance is probably located a few kilometres east of the Worsley report.

Many factors have to be taken into account. You cannot simply take Worsley’s position for granted and go there straight away. We have to use our own judgement – David Mearns, a searcher who has found many other historic wrecks, told the BBC.

Mearns also said the researchers shared the results of their work with the crew of Agulhas II, which is searching for the Endurance wreck. The main concern was the marine chronometer clock used for navigation, which Worsley used to determine longitude. An error initially led them to believe that the wreck was to the west of Worsley’s report. In turn, another error pointed in an easterly direction. Mensun Bound confirmed that its crew had seen the research, but it is not known whether it will be used during the expedition.

Map of Shackleton's last expedition Search

According to available information, the Agulhas II crew has narrowed the search area to a 7 by 14 mile zone. In this area the expedition participants will search for the wreck for about two weeks. This is how long forecasts predict before conditions in the Weddell Sea deteriorate significantly.

The wreck, although still not found, is protected under the Arctic Treaty, which has declared it a historical monument. Therefore, once found, it will be possible to documentation of the wreckbut without exploring and disturbing its structure. Experts predict that the wreck of the Endurance has been preserved in very good condition due to the harsh conditions.

It is worth noting that the expedition was funded by an anonymous donor who covered the cost in excess of USD 10 million.

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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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