Thursday, November 15, 2007

 

Baltic yields 'perfect' shipwreck

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BBC
November 15, 2007




A near-intact shipwreck apparently dating from the 17th century has been found in the Baltic Sea, Swedish television has said.

The discovery was made during filming for an under-water documentary series.

Public service SVT television said the wreck could be from the same era as the famous Vasa warship, which sank on its maiden voyage in August 1628.

The broadcaster said the Baltic's low oxygen content and low temperature had helped preserve the wreck.

SVT said the origins of the ship were unclear but its features resembled the work of Dutch ship-builders from the period.

"Experts who have studied video of the ship conclude that it is probably the best-preserved ship ever seen from this period," the station said.

A press release provided by SVT quoted marine archaeologist MR Manders as saying he was "overwhelmed" by the condition of the wreck.

"You can hardly call this a shipwreck," he is quoted as saying.

Mr Manders said the boat was likely to have been a trading vessel, 20-25m long, with two or perhaps three masts.

Excellent visibility
The location of the wreck, between the Swedish mainland and Latvia, had been pinpointed in 2003.

But it was only in May this year, during filming for The Wreck Divers documentary series, that full exploration and filming with a remotely-operated submarine took place.

The programme's executive producer, Malcolm Dixelius, told the BBC the ship was found at a depth of 125m - offering "excellent" visibility.

The relative lack of oxygen in the water and its low temperature meant the ship had been amazingly well-preserved, he said.

SVT says the vessel probably dates from the same period as the Vasa warship, which was discovered in 1956 and brought to the surface.

The museum where it is kept is now one of the main tourist attractions in Stockholm.

SVT's The Wreck Divers programme is aired on Thursday.


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