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Poles have identified the wreck of the 'disappearing Dutchman'!

The wreck of an unknown sailing ship from the 18th century, resting off the coast of Banana Island, has been identified. This was done by members of the Wreck Expeditions Association, well known to our readers. It took several years of hard work and international co-operation, but the expeditions to Sierra Leone proved to be
Published: March 20, 2018 - 16:47
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:38
Poles have identified the wreck of the ‘disappearing Dutchman’!

The wreck of an unknown sailing ship from the 18th century, resting off the coast of Banana Island, has been identified. This was done by members of the Wreck Expeditions Association, well known to our readers. It took several years of hard work and international co-operation, but the expeditions to Sierra Leone proved to be the right direction and brought great results!

We have reported on successive expeditions of the Association of Wreck Expeditions to Sierra Leone and their effects on an ongoing basis in our pages in 2012 and 2014. Today, we are going back to those days, as unusual circumstances require it. Such is certainly the success achieved through the identification of the 18th century Dutch wreck “Diemermeer”, christened during the expedition the “disappearing Dutchman”

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During research work carried out in 2012, in the waters off the western side of Banana Island, members of the association explored and documented the remains of an unknown sailing vessel, lying at a depth of no more than 10 metres.

As a result, 28 cast-iron cannons over two metres long were found, as well as 5 anchors and fragments of porcelain and other small objects. Further work led to the discovery of the marking ‘1762’ on one of the cannons, as well as a symbol that looked like an inverted letter ‘V’, which is now known to have been an indication of weight in a unit called the Amsterdam pound.

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However, things did not go as planned for the members of the association. Unknown perpetrators excavated and simply stole the cannon under investigation.

[blockquote style=”2″]”Unfortunately due to the nature of the site nothing more can be done to protect the wreck from looting. Probably one day the remains of the wreck will disappear irretrievably”, admitted Piotr Wytykowski, vice president of the association. – admitted Piotr Wytykowski, vice president of the association[/blockquote].

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A return in 2014 and another 3 weeks spent exploring the archaeological site, led to the discovery of even more interesting artefacts. Among them fragments of Chinese porcelain, as well as… a gold ring! It was the analysis of these finds that led to the determination that the sailing ship belonged to the Dutch East India Fleet – VOC, and that it sailed to the Netherlands from Batavia, from where it transported a cargo of Chinese porcelain.

[blockquote style=”2″]”Unfortunately, for a long time the search in archives did not allow to establish the name of the armed merchant ship. Only contacts with the Dutch historian Arthur Scheijde brought a breakthrough,” Piotr Wytykowski stressed.[/blockquote]

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This Dutch historian with a passion for the VOC fleet came across extremely important information which made it possible to identify the sailing ship. In this case, the Dutch press proved to be invaluable, specifically an excerpt from an article in the ‘Amsterdamsche Courant’ dated 13 June 1748.

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There is information in the text, directly indicating the name of the ship ‘Diemermeer’ and the name of the captain – Christian Boordt, as well as the sad end of the sailing ship off Banana Island. Interestingly,

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[blockquote style=”2″]”While trying to find out more about Captain Christian Boordt we came across some interesting information. From the marriage certificate of the captain from 1725, which is found in the Dutch archives, it appears that he came to Amsterdam from Kolberg, which is today’s Kołobrzeg”. – Wytykowski reported[/blockquote].

Source: dzieje.pl Photo: Shipwreck Expeditions – Wyprawy Wrakowe, Adventure Pictures

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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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