The Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, has been found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.
The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust expedition used state of the art underwater vehicles to locate the ship, that sank 107 years ago.
The ship was found only 4 miles from the last recorded position by ship captain, Frank Worsley, and is mostly intact due to a lack of wood-eating marine organisms in the Weddell Sea. The difficulty of locating the shipwreck comes with the sea-ice that near-permanently occupies the Antarctic waters above, making exploration much more difficult.
The search conducted was non-intrusive with nothing touched or taken from the wreck, as it is protected by the Antarctic treaty. Instead photos and videos were captured of the wreck, showing how it lies in incredible condition – near enough as it looked before it sank under the ice.
Marine Archaeologist and Falkland Islander, Mensun Bound, was the Director of Exploration onboard the SA Agulhas II, the icebreaking ship used by the team. This was the second time Bound has tried to find the wreck of the Endurance, with the first attempt a few years ago being unsuccessful.
Speaking of the discovery he said: “We are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance. This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation.”
The Endurance was found 100 years to the day that Sir Ernest Shackleton was laid to rest in South Georgia.
Shackleton and his crew of 27 men set off in the Endurance in 1912 for the 1914-17 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, but the ship got stuck in the Weddell Sea ice pack and sank in 1915 – the beginning to one of the most heroic stories of adventure and survival in history.