Saturday, April 09, 2005


$20,000 funding boost for bid to identify shipwreck


The Sunday Times
April 07, 2005

Maritime Archaeology divers find an anchor at the Correio da Azia wrecksite.
This anchor is one of many anchors that were found, the other anchors were
found at the mid-Nineteenth Century Unidentified Shipwreck site.
Photo: Pat Baker.

ATTEMPTS to prove a shipwreck discovered off the West Australian coast is that of a Portuguese vessel lost in 1816 have been boosted by a $20,000 funding pledge from the federal government.

Last year archaeologists from the WA Maritime Museum discovered the exact point they believe the Correio da Azia went down en route from Lisbon to Macau.

After a magnetic survey of the area of reef indicated the location, experts recovered some objects from the depths.

However, more dives are needed to confirm the wreck is that of the Correio da Azia, which has been sought for more than 16 years.

In Fremantle yesterday federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the government, through the Historic Shipwrecks Program, would donate $22,728 to enable the museum to continue its research.

"Every shipwreck is a watery time capsule with a story waiting to be told," the minister said.

"Divers will recover coins and artefacts from the site. It is hoped the recovered coins will be dated, and if they are no later than 1816 then this will help to support the theory that the wreck is that of the Correio da Azia."

It is thought the Correio da Azia would have been armed and carrying mail, important passengers and special goods when it went down.

The captain's account of the wreck, discovered in a Lisbon archive in 1988, described how the ship went down in the early hours of the morning after being taken too close to the coast by a strong current.

Despite warnings from the lookouts, the ship struck the reef twice and lost its rudder.

Unable to steer and taking on water, the Correio da Azia sank but the crew, which had taken to the ship's launch, survived.

Check the official site here.


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