Gulf of Mexico shipwrecks discovered

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Photo: The “Monterrey Wreck” has a copper clad wooden hull Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program

Marine archaeologists working on a well preserved shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico have discovered two other sunken vessels nearby.

Researchers say that the vessels most likely went down with the main ship 170 miles southeast of Galveston Texas some time during a 19th century storm.

The vessels lie at 4,360ft (1300m) underwater making them the deepest Gulf or North American shipwrecks ever to have been investigated by researchers.

This is the second trip back to the site for researchers from the Okeanos Explorer Program, which is run by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), among others.

During the eight day trip onboard the NOAA vessel, Okeanos Explorer, researchers used a remote operated vehicle to discover more than 60 artefacts on the seabed including musket parts, British and Mexican ceramic, liquor bottles and even a toothbrush.

NOAA says that it is likely each ship was carrying 50 to 60 men and that there were no survivors because navigational instruments were left behind by the crew.

Researchers discovered the original vessel, dubbed the “Monterrey Wreck”, after having being alerted to its presence by a Shell Oil survey crew in 2011.

The vessel was armed with six cannon and may have had two masts – images also show that it had a copper clad wooden hull.

The researchers hope to return to the site next year.