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Father and son find wreck of 1873 sailing ship

On 20 January 2020, Ben Cropp, 84, and his son Adam found the wreck of a lost vessel from almost 150 years ago. Both men are involved in the search for wrecks, and they made this fantastic discovery near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They quickly linked their find to the story of a
Published: February 4, 2020 - 17:20
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:16
Father and son find wreck of 1873 sailing ship

On 20 January 2020, Ben Cropp, 84, and his son Adam found the wreck of a lost vessel from almost 150 years ago. Both men are involved in the search for wrecks, and they made this fantastic discovery near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They quickly linked their find to the story of a lost British ship from the second half of the 19th century.

The wreck was located near Sudbury Reef, 45 miles southeast of Cairns. The site was first surveyed with an underwater drone, which helped locate an object that resembled a large anchor.

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Upon closer inspection, these speculations were confirmed and work is now underway to confirm the identity of the vessel. During the dive, both men found iron fittings, a keel and a partially buried chain scattered within 50 metres of the anchor.

Searchers have put forward the hypothesis that it is most likely the wreck of the British cargo ship “Undine”. The vessel, built in 1867 in the Sunderland shipyard, was made of wood and measured 56 metres long. Trace of her disappeared in May 1873, after she left Brisbane harbour and headed for China.

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The senior of the Cropp family is a true veteran when it comes to the sea. He worked in shark fishing until 1962, before deciding to switch sides and take up nature filmmaking and environmental protection. In total, he has around 150 productions to his credit showing life under the ocean’s surface.

However, that is not all. For 20 years he ran a shipwreck museum, which is probably the direct reason why he became a shipwreck hunter. He set himself the goal of finding a wreck that would be dated before 1770, when Captain James Cook arrived in Australia.

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To date, Ben Cropp is credited with finding over 100 shipwrecks in 50 years of searching. The most famous is certainly the HMS “Pandora” – an 18th century Royal Navy warship sent in pursuit of mutineers from the legendary HMS “Bounty” (the story of these events is told in the 1984 American film “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Mel Gibson and Sir Anthony Hopkins) and sunk in the Torres Strait in 1791. In contrast, in 2015 Cropp found the wreck of Napoleon Bonaparte’s ship ‘Swiftsure’, sunk off the coast of Queensland.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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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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