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Wrecks of two 19th century whaling ships found off Alaska coast - video

In Arctic waters, off the coast of Alaska, archaeologists have found the wrecks of two whaling ships from 1871! The place where the remains of the two ships were found had remained covered in ice for many years. Today, when weather and climatic conditions permitted, archaeologists carried out a reconnaissance. The search was carried out
Published: January 17, 2016 - 21:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 12:43
Wrecks of two 19th century whaling ships found off Alaska coast – video

In Arctic waters, off the coast of Alaska, archaeologists have found the wrecks of two whaling ships from 1871! The place where the remains of the two ships were found had remained covered in ice for many years. Today, when weather and climatic conditions permitted, archaeologists carried out a reconnaissance. The search was carried out using sonar and a team of divers.

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The two vessels are only a fraction of the disaster that occurred here in the summer of 1871. It was then that 32 ships seeking refuge entered the channel, where they were subsequently crushed by ice. It was one of the greatest disasters ever to befall the whaling fleet.

The rapidly closing channel between the ice walls was crossed by nearly 1,200 people in tiny boats, escaping certain death. The whalers and their families had nearly 80 miles to travel in these conditions to the nearest vessels that could assist them. The entire 19th-century whaling fleet in the region was destroyed, leading to the spectacular collapse of many companies and an entire industry. Converted to present day value, the size of the disaster included the sum of $33 million!

According to representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the search and investigation was made possible by climate change and the partial dissolution of the ice cap in the area. This enabled a somewhat more thorough exploration of the crash site, including diving and recording photo-video footage.

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The finds made and artifacts discovered provided incredible information about a distant and forgotten era in American shipping history. Since the shipwreck, this was the first opportunity for an expedition of this kind to be carried out and for archaeologists to collect any research material. The latter intend to continue their work so that they can write the final chapter in the history of the American whaling fleet of the late 19th century.

NOAA’s ‘state-of-the-art’ sonar was used during the expedition, providing the first image of two vessels not seen in 144 years. After divers examined the site, anchors, ballast and a number of everyday items were discovered.

Source: washingtonpost.com

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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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