Top Ten Intriguing Shipwreck Mysteries That Were Recently Solved

The ocean floor is littered with shipwrecks, many of which hide a secret. But as wonderful as mysteries are, not knowing the answer is like a nagging itch you can’t scratch. Fortunately, in recent years, a number of ships have given up their silence and revealed remarkable stories. From a strange signal near RMS Titanic to huge warships that vanish into thin air, these are the main maritime mysteries that can now be explained.

Related: 10 Fascinating Finds And Stories Involving Ancient Ships

10 A Royal Ship Missing

In 1682 HMS gloucester almost killed a king. James Stuart, the future King of England, was aboard the ship when it sank on a shoal off the English coast. On that fateful day, James barely survived, but hundreds of crew and passengers did not. Despite the tragedy and almost altering actual history, the ship’s location was unknown.

Then two brothers, Lincoln and Julian Barnwell, along with their friend James Little, decided to find the gloucester. After four years of searching, they began to believe that they would never find the wreck. But in 2012, divers found a canyon off the Norfolk coast. This led to a wreck and eventually the ship’s bell positively identified the ship as the long-missing HMS. gloucester.

Surprisingly, when the trio randomly decided to find the missing royal ship, they had no idea how historically important their discovery would be. Considering her age and role in royal politics, historians now view the discovery of the gloucester as one of the most significant maritime discoveries in recent years.[1]

9 The actual age of an old ship

In the 1980s, a fisherman was working in the Java Sea when he discovered a shipwreck off the Indonesian coast. The ship was old, that much was clear. But no one could date the ship. All the investigators knew was that she came from China and was carrying a shipment of pottery, ivory and incense.

In 2018, archaeologists re-examined the cargo and discovered something previously overlooked. One of the ceramic pieces had Chinese writing on the bottom and was almost like a label similar to modern “Made in China” stamps. In this case, he revealed the place where it was produced: Jianning Fu in the Chinese province of Fujian.

Historical records showed that Jianning Fu became Jianning Lu around 1278. This suggested that the ship sank before this name change, perhaps as early as 1162. This, along with carbon dating evidence of the ivory and other items , showed that the ship was probably 800 years old. years, a century more than previously thought. [2]

8 The Sullivan Brothers Grave

During World War II, the US Navy prohibited family members from serving on the same ship. The purpose of this rule was to prevent families from losing multiple members in the event of a disaster. But five brothers had other ideas. The Sullivan brothers flatly refused to serve in the war unless they were assigned to the same ship. For whatever reason, the Navy relented and allowed the five brothers to board the USS Juneau warship.

On November 13, 1942, the USS juneau she was fighting in the Battle of Guadalcanal when she was hit by a Japanese torpedo. The ship sank, killing everyone on board, including Francis, George, Joseph, Albert, and Madison Sullivan.

For 76 years, the ship’s location remained a mystery. But in 2018, sonar pulses alerted a research team to an anomaly that turned out to be the long-lost warship. It was found near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The wreck rests at a depth of 3,700 feet (4,200 meters) below the surface and can only be described as a crumbling wreck covered in marine life.[3]

7 The Titanic Flash

Paul Henry Nargeolet was a diver who frequented the wreck of the Titanic. By the time she had 30 dives under her belt, she had discovered something strange. One day in 1998, a mysterious signal appeared on his sonar screen, sparking a mystery that would last for decades. No one knew what it was, only that the sign was large and close to the Titanic.

In 2022, Nargeolet and other researchers launched an expedition to the wreck and managed to solve the puzzle. The signal was not another shipwreck or a seamount. It was a deep-water reef. Tentatively named Nargeolet-Fanning Ridge, the volcanic formation was 9,514 feet (2,900 meters) below the surface and teemed with marine life such as fish, coral, lobsters, and sponges.[4]

6 Shackleton’s Legendary Ship

In maritime history, Ernest Shackleton was a legend. He went down in the history books when his ship, the Endurance, sank off Antarctica in 1915. Shackleton and his crew managed an incredible escape, not only from the ship, but surviving for over a year on drifting ice floes. They were all eventually rescued, but the Endurance it was never seen again.

In 2022, explorers set out to find the infamous shipwreck. They discovered the Endurance in the Weddell Sea, a region that is also called the “worst sea” in the world, a name it earned for being so dangerous and difficult to navigate. The wreck rested 4 miles (6 kilometers) from where it had originally been crushed by pack ice. Despite all the crushing, the team discovered that the Endurance it was almost intact and remarkably preserved.[5]

5 The purpose of a mysterious gear

In 2012, efforts were made to widen the Ijssel River in the Netherlands. While working, a shipwreck was discovered at the bottom of the river. I was not alone. The cog, a type of medieval wooden ship, was accompanied by a punt and barge from the same period.

But why was this fleet resting in that particular place? It turns out that the 2012 project was not the first attempt to design the river Ijssel. Researchers now believe the ships were deliberately scuttled 600 years ago to disrupt the flow of the water.

The decision was made to lift the sprocket out of the water and preserve the ship. This was no easy task, considering the ship weighed 55 tons (50 tons). The maritime archaeologists spent three years planning the recovery and, when the time came, successfully lifted the sprocket in its entirety on the first attempt.[6]

4 The True Story Of The Butter Ship

For decades, locals living near Streedagh Beach in Ireland would visit a shipwreck. Housed in the sand, no one knew where it came from or what name it sailed under, eventually becoming known as the “Butter Ship”. In 2020, researchers decided to crack the mystery. What they pieced together was a remarkably detailed and tragic story.

After testing the ship and searching historical records, they discovered that the ship’s real name was the Greyhound. She was a merchant ship that frequented the coast between Ireland and Great Britain. In 1770, the ship sailed from Whitby Harbor in Yorkshire and ran into a storm in Broadhaven Bay.

The crew successfully abandoned ship, but after a head count, they realized that a cabin boy was still trapped on the ship, which was anchored near some cliffs. The crew and local volunteers returned to the Greyhoundbut the storm swept the ship and many of the rescuers out to sea, killing 20 people in the process.[7]

3 The Shipping Container That Wasn’t

In 2019, a storm pushed the MSC ship zoe. As a result, several steel containers fell overboard. Some time later, the metal collectors decided to salvage the containers and sell them for scrap. Armed with a mechanical arm for grasping large objects and on-board sonar, the crew reached the North Sea, where the accident had occurred. While scanning the seabed near a Dutch island called Terschelling, they found a sonar anomaly.

Not sure what it was, but hoping to find a shipping container, the rescuers used the mechanical arm to grab the item. What surfaced was not payday, but a piece of history. They had removed lumber belonging to a 500-year-old ship and five tons (4,700 kilograms) of its copper cargo.

The cargo was intended to be used for some of the early copper coins of the Netherlands, while the ship itself was a rare example of two methods of shipbuilding. Dutch shipbuilders moved from a medieval method called “clinker” to the more advanced technique of “carvel,” both of which were present in the shipwreck built during this fundamental change.[8]

2 The Disappearing Warships

When a warship sinks and lives are lost, the wreck is considered a war grave and military property. Needless to say, many ships sank during World War II, many taking entire crews to the bottom of the ocean.

In 2016, naval researchers were visiting several sites when sonar revealed a disturbing pattern. Several submarines and warships had disappeared without a trace. Considering the massive size of these sunken ships, it was all confusing at first. A sudden influx of ship-related materials at junkyards soon revealed an answer. It turns out that metal pirates are targeting warships. It’s not hard to see why. A single bronze ship propeller is worth around $5,000, and a complete wreck has enough metal to make a million dollars.

US warships are not the only victims of this trade. Metal pirates also loot Australian, Dutch, British and Japanese warships, sometimes at significant personal risk to their own safety. [9]

1 How Horses Proved To Be A Legend

Not all shipwreck mysteries are underwater. Some roam the earth as living, breathing creatures. In this case, it’s a herd of wild horses. For centuries, the animals have existed on Assateague Island, off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. But how did they get there? No one really knew, just that an old folktale claimed that long ago, the first horses were left stranded on the island after surviving a doomed Spanish galleon.

The proof of this legend appeared by accident. During a recent study, a researcher analyzed the DNA of what he thought was a cow’s tooth. The latter had been found in a centuries-old abandoned Spanish colony in the Caribbean. However, analysis soon showed that the tooth belonged to a horse from the 16th century.

Curious about the animal’s origins, he compared the DNA to that of modern horses. From the beginning, the expectation was that the horse’s closest living relatives would come from the Iberian Peninsula, where the Spanish got their horses from. However, the DNA on the tooth was more closely related to the mysterious Assateague pack. This proved that Assateague’s horses could only have originated from the Spanish colonies and that their ancestors were, in fact, the steeds of explorers who had been shipwrecked near the island.[10]

Jana Louise Smith

Jana makes a living as a freelance writer and author. She wrote a book on a challenge and hundreds of articles. Jana loves looking up weird facts about science, nature, and the human mind.

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