04 Nov

Odyssey Marine attempt to raid HMS Victory

As expected, Odyssey Marine, the plundering American ‘marine exploration’ company are intent on raising HMS Victory from its resting place in the English Channel.

Using the cynical argument that fishing is damaging the wreck site, they want merely to get at the estimated $1bn of gold that the ship is said to hold. Have a look at the BBC article and listen to their CEO try to justify an operation to raise the wreck.

This is the company that plundered gold from a Spanish ship but was then ordered to hand the treasure back to Spain (see BBC article here). They are clearly trying to make their claim appear legitimate to the UK government and the Ministry of Defence, but they are well known for their tactics and are unlikely to be able to dive on the wreck, let alone bring anything further to the surface.

A number of concerned groups have contacted the authorities to express their concern and offer professional (and non-commercial) assistance in the archaeology and conservation of the wreck and the artefacts contained within it.

Read more about the Alderney Elizabethan Wreck
10 Jun

Elizabethan Shipwreck off Alderney

Having read about this story a few weeks back, I happened to be travelling to Alderney in the Channel Islands last week to stay with a close family friend who lives there. While in the island’s museum in St Annes, I bumped into the dive team, who were due to go out onto the Alderney Elizabethan Wreck that week. As a result I also met Mensun Bound, the Marine Archaeologist based in St Peter’s College, Oxford who is in charge of the research, archaeology and conservation of artefacts from the wreck for the Alderney Maritime Trust.

I also managed to join the dive team for one dive, albeit bobbing about topside while the team got to grips with reattaching sacrificial anodes to one of the remaining cannon on the seabed. This gave a fascinating insight into the amount of effort it takes to make even a 30 minute dive onto a wreck in around 100 feet of water, and gave me the reason to assist in any way I can to raise funds to assist in discovering more about this unique ship from over 400 years ago.

Unfortunately the wreck is off Alderney, which, being part of the bailiwick of Guernsey, is not in UK waters, and therefore does not qualify for Lottery funding. The States of Alderney cannot fully fund the operation and therefore external funding is to be sought, in order to sustain the archaeology and conservation of the artefacts from the wreck. I will be assisting this process from Oxford.