Friday, November 30, 2007

 

Rescuing Turkish shipwreck

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Turkish Daily News
November 30, 2007


A survey and inventory was undertaken for the first time in the area where the frigate sank and a detailed map was prepared as the first phase of the project. In the second stage, the frigate will be completely lifted to the surface

The Culture and Tourism Ministry will support a project aimed at bringing the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul, which sank off the coast of Japan in 1890 in a severe typhoon, to the surface.

The voyage of the Ertuğrul was planned as a goodwill trip to Japan in response to a Japanese delegation visit in 1887. However, the Ertuğrul sank on Sept. 15, 1890 on its way back from Japan on the rocks of Kashinozaki, off the coast of Ooshima Island. A total of 533 sailors died in the accident and the Japanese rescued 69.

A survey and inventory was undertaken for the first time in the area where the warship sank and a detailed map was prepared as the first phase of the project. In the second stage, the ship will be completely brought to the surface and exhibited in the museum next to the “Ertuğrul Monument” built on the coast.

A team of well-known nautical archaeologists from Turkey, Spain, Japan, and the United States will carry out the underwater excavation as part of the second phase of the project.

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay will join a Japanese princess in a trip to the area where the ship sank and where divers will be operating. The dives will kick off in January and will last around a month-and-a-half.

The project is being carried out with contributions from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology in Bodrum (INA), the Yapı Kredi Retirement Partnership, the Turkish Foundation of Nautical Archaeology and Turkish Airlines (THY).


A meeting with history:
Artifacts unearthed during the underwater surveys were taken to a conservation area and further underwater excavations will be held from Jan. 9 to Feb. 18, said project coordinator, Tufan Turanlı. Huge rocks that now cover the frigate because of earthquakes and tides will be removed, he said.

“We plan to reach the ammunition store section and administrative rooms of the ship,” Turanlı said.

“We could come across some unexpected artifacts with the archaeological excavations, which will be conducted for first the time. Some of the findings and personal belongings of the frigate's commanders and crew will be displayed in a museum in Japan, while some will be brought to Bodrum for conservation works and display,” he said.

New documents and photographs of the historical event were also collected from relatives of the shipwreck's crew.

Project leaders invited Günay and State Minister Kürşat Tüzmen to Japan to join the dives and the invitation was accepted.

“They will dive to the shipwreck with a Japanese princess. Günay said the ministry will provide all its support to the project,” Turanlı said.

The project will shed light on Turkish history and revive the memories of 530 sailors who lost their lives in the tragic accident, said Giray Velioğlu of the Yapı Kredi Retirement Partnership. A documentary film in three languages (Turkish, English and Japanese) will also be shot as part of the project.


About the Ertuğrul Frigate accident:
The frigate Ertuğrul was sent by Sultan Abdülhamit II to the emperor of Japan on a goodwill visit. The frigate set sail on July 14, 1889 and, after sailing for more than a year, arrived in Japan in June 1890. On the return voyage, the Ottoman frigate sank on the 16th day on the rocks of Kashinozaki off the coast of Ooshima Island because of a severe typhoon. The tragedy resulted in the loss of 533 sailors, of whom 50 were officers. Only six officers and 63 sailors survived.

There now stands in Ooshima, Wakayama Prefecture, near a lighthouse, the Ertuğrul Monument, built in memory of those pioneers of Turkish-Japanese friendship. The compassion demonstrated by the Japanese people in saving and returning the survivors of the crew of the Ertuğrul to Istanbul has left a lasting memory of gratitude in the minds of the Turkish people. Thus, this tragic accident became a solemn symbol of friendship between the two nations.


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