Thursday, January 11, 2007


117-year-old Turkish wreck off Kushimoto yields artifacts

January 11, 2007

A metal cauldron thought to be
from the Turkish frigate Ertugrul,
which sank in 1890, was found
Tuesday off the coast of Kushimoto,
Wakayama Prefecture.
(Satoru Sekiguchi/ The Asahi Shimbun)

KUSHIMOTO, Wakayama Prefecture--Divers on Tuesday began exploring the wreck of a Turkish frigate that sank off coastal waters here in 1890 after paying a friendship visit to Japan on behalf of the then Turkish Ottoman Empire (1299-1922).

The divers, led by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, will use sonar to look for artifacts through Jan. 25.

After leaving port for its return to Turkey, the wooden frigate Ertugrul foundered on rocks during a storm and was battered by the elements for four days before it came to grief.

It eventually sank near Oshima Island, now part of Kushimoto at the southern tip of Wakayama Prefecture.

Only 69 of the more than 600 sailors aboard survived.

On Tuesday, about 20 experts from four countries began diving to search for artifacts, the first time the wreck has been thoroughly explored.

The group said it plans to spend several years combing the wreck for relics. The researchers are from the United States, Japan, Turkey and Spain.

Japanese team members include employees of a company that makes measuring instruments.

On Tuesday, an Asahi Shimbun photographer diving near the wreck about 150 meters offshore found a metal cauldron about 11 meters below the surface. The cooking pot measures about 60 centimeters in diameter.

Nearby, the diver also found what appeared to be dish fragments and rusted bits of metal.


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