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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Wreck Of HMS VICTORY Found

    As a sailor I am always saddened when a shipwreck of significant social and historical value is located, but I feel the excitment for the finding at the same time. Saddness is for the crew and passengers (if there were any) who lost their lives, making the wreck a tomb symbol of those losses. Excitment because something of historical value from which we may learn something both of the ship and its loss and for the artefacts that it carries.

    In this case, I think that my shiplore is lacking somewhat. I was not aware that HMS VICTORY had been lost at sea. I always thought she was tied up in Portsmouth (I think?).

    U.S. firm wants 'immediate' access to British warship treasure

    Ship could have $1B in gold on board

    AFPFebruary 2, 2009

    LONDON - The U.S. firm which claims to have discovered one of the greatest British warships ever lost at sea said Monday it was seeking "immediate" permission to begin recovering artifacts from the wreck.

    Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration said it discovered the final resting place of the HMS Victory last year in the English Channel and notified the British Ministry of Defence as soon as the team concluded it was the man-of-war which sank in a storm in 1744 with a crew of 1,150.

    The exploration company said it was negotiating a collaboration agreement with the British government, which claims sovereignty over the ship thought to have been the most impressive war vessel of its time.

    "The money is not as important as the cultural and historical significance of the discovery. It is a monumental event, not only for Odyssey but for the world," Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s chief executive officer, told a news conference in London.

    "It is probably the most significant shipwreck find to date. HMS Victory was the mightiest vessel of the 18th century and the eclectic mix of guns we found on the site will prove essential in further refining our understanding of naval weaponry used during the era," he added.

    Odyssey said it feared the wreck was suffering substantial damage from natural erosion and extensive trawler-fishing and its contents could be lost unless they were brought to the surface as soon as possible.

    The Victory’s archeological treasures are prized by salvagers because they are believed to include 100 brass cannons, thought to be engraved with dolphins and the monogram of King George II, and a substantial amount of gold and silver.

    "Rather than staying frozen in time beneath the waves, this unique shipwreck is fading fast," marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, director of Wreck Watch International, said in a statement from Odyssey.

    "The Victory lies in an area of intensive trawling, and her hull and contents are being ploughed away by these bulldozers of the deep day in, day out."

    Odyssey said it found the wreck 100 metres under the English Channel, nearly 100 kilometres from the Channel Islands site where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked in a violent storm.

    Jason Williams, executive producer of JMW Productions, which filmed the discovery, said: "Reports from the time say that the ship was carrying four tonnes of gold, around 400,000 sterling, which it picked up from Lisbon on its way to Gibraltar.

    "Today this has a bullion value of 125 million pounds, but that is just its raw weight. That means it is worth about a $1 billion."

    © Copyright (c) AFP


    In fact, I found this on the HMS VICTORY website:

    HMS VICTORY is the only surviving warship that fought in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic wars. In the latter she served as Lord Nelson's flagship at the decisive Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Her career began some 40 years earlier. Ordered by the Navy Board on 6 June 1759 during the Seven Years' war, this first rate 100 gun ship was designed by the Surveyor of the Navy, Sir Thomas Slade. Building commenced at Chatham Dockyard on 23 July 1759 under Master Shipwright John Lock and was completed by Edward Allen on 7 May 1765.

    1759, the "Annus Mirabilis" or year of victories, was the turning point of that war for Britain. Victories had been won on land at Quebec and Minden, and at sea off Lagos and at Quiberon Bay where Admiral Hawke, in a rising gale, smashed and drove ashore the French fleet. These facts may have been significant in the naming of the new battleship. 1759 was also the year that Pitt the Younger, later to become Prime Minister and the political bastion against France, was born and William Boyce wrote the song "Heart of Oak". The ship was actually named VICTORY on 30 October 1760. Her cost, when completed in 1765, amounted to £63,176 (a century later HMS WARRIOR 1860 cost £330,000). Ironically, in 1759, James Watt invented the steam engine with the separate condenser: within 70 years this innovation would bring about the demise of the sailing Man of War and allow the introduction of ships like HMS WARRIOR 1860.


    AHA! Found more, from the LA Times:

    In a news conference Monday in London, Greg Stemm, chief executive of Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa, Fla., said the company found the remains in 330 feet of water more than 60 miles from where the vessel was thought to have sunk -- exonerating the captain, Sir John Balchin, from the widespread accusation that he had let it run aground through faulty navigation.

    "This is the naval equivalent of the Titanic, perhaps even more important than the Titanic," said marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, director of Wreck Watch International, who consulted with Odyssey on the find. "It's the only intact collection of bronze guns from a Royal Navy warship in the world."

    The ship, he added in a telephone interview, "was the equivalent in its day of an aircraft carrier armed with nuclear weapons. . . . When it disappeared off the face of the Earth, there was a collective gasp in the establishment and the general public."

    Like the Titanic, the Victory had flaws that rendered it vulnerable to its fate: Its three-deck design was unusually top-heavy, making it susceptible to excessive rolling, and its timbers were not aged properly, leading to premature rot.

    Those flaws were corrected when its successor, the sixth and last British warship named Victory, was designed and built three decades later for Admiral Lord Nelson.

    By that time as well, the massive bronze cannons had given way to lighter, cheaper cannons made of steel, marking the end of an era.


    NOW the story is clear.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    The exploration company said it was negotiating a collaboration agreement with the British government, which claims sovereignty over the ship thought to have been the most impressive war vessel of its time.
    I thought with wrecks of this age it was 'finders keepers' and the company should have salvage rights?
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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    I thought with wrecks of this age it was 'finders keepers' and the company should have salvage rights?
    Technically I believe you are correct. There was a related (by tech aspect) story in the Victoria Times Colonist a few days ago, regarding salvage of vessels and boats etc. The basic criteria are:

    1) the vessel or watercraft has to be "wrecked" or "beached" due to either carelessness of the owner or due to weather

    2) the salvor has to prove that he is actually capable of removing/rescuing the vessel in a relatively safe manner

    3) that the owner(s) are not capable or willing to salvage the vessel themselves

    I'll try and locate the original article regarding those statements, but I think those are the basics.

    In the regards of this particular story, there is possibly a problem of "soveriegnty" as well as ownership, but that is for the courts to determine.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Here is the article I was referring to:

    Boats stranded by high winds aren't easy pickings

    By Vivian Moreau - Oak Bay News

    Published: January 05, 2009 11:00 AM
    Updated: January 05, 2009 12:16 PM

    0 Comments Opportunists spying boats stranded by rough weather shouldn't be so eager to claim the vessels as their own.

    "Guys just can't jump on it and claim salvage - they actually have to perform a service," said maritime lawyer Peter Swanson. "If they don't salve it they're not entitled to anything."

    The Vancouver-based lawyer was responding to reports about pleasure boats in Oak Bay being tagged for salvage in recent weeks after being beached in high winds. Half a dozen boats moored in Oak Bay ended up on the beach after 50-knot winds swept in. Most were quickly rescued by their owners, but some vessels spent days stranded on their sides.

    Boats have to be in distress and anyone aiming to claim a vessel as salvage has to make an effort to rescue the boat and inform its owners, said Swanson, a founding partner in the maritime law firm, Bernard & Partners.

    "Just because it's on the beach doesn't mean it's in distress," he said. "If waves are hammering it and it's being destroyed that's a different matter, but if it's calmly, quietly sitting on the beach, the owner has time to contact his insurance company and to deal with it on his own."

    Although not written in stone, boat owners have a reasonable length of time to contact their insurance company and a salvage operator, if need be, Swanson said.

    If there is any doubt as to whether a boat has been abandoned, passersby should contact Transport Canada's receiver of wrecks. Based in Vancouver, the receiver has up to a year to find the owner before releasing a boat to someone claiming salvage. And there are procedures to follow, says assistant receiver of wrecks Tom Detlor. There are penalties for not following the rules.

    "If you find a boat you can't claim it as yours. It's not yours, it's somebody else's," Detlor said. Legitimate salvors (the official term for salvagers) who rescue boats are allowed to claim expenses from boats owners, he added. But the bottom line is to ascertain if a boat is truly derelict or just temporarily beached.

    "Lines do break in storms and boats do end up on beaches - that doesn't mean they're wrecks."

    vmoreau@saanichnews.com

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    I think that's the shipwreck they're showing on the Discovery Channel's "Treasure Quest" tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    I thought with wrecks of this age it was 'finders keepers' and the company should have salvage rights?
    That's true for vessels of commerce but this is a warship and I am quite sure the British navy has other ideas. If I recall, every year, Germany sends a letter of protest to the US for allowing sport divers to dive on U-boat wrecks in US waters. (The US tends to ignore those however).

    With luck, They will be able to do a salvage and put many of the relics on display in a museum. The artifacts are far more valuable than the treasure IMHO. (I personally wouldn't turn down a billion bucks though)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFNG View Post
    That's true for vessels of commerce but this is a warship and I am quite sure the British navy has other ideas. If I recall, every year, Germany sends a letter of protest to the US for allowing sport divers to dive on U-boat wrecks in US waters. (The US tends to ignore those however).

    With luck, They will be able to do a salvage and put many of the relics on display in a museum. The artifacts are far more valuable than the treasure IMHO. (I personally wouldn't turn down a billion bucks though)

    They aren't supposed to be diving inside the wrecks of vessels.
    Not only could they get caught inside a detriorating vessel(read rusting and falling apart) like a firefighter getting hung up inside a burning building as it collapses,they would be swimming around someone's grave site.
    Does that sound disrepectful to you,no matter what side they died fighting for?
    Last edited by doughesson; 02-07-2009 at 11:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    They aren't supposed to be diving inside the wrecks of vessels.
    Not only could they get caught inside a detriorating vessel(read rusting and falling apart) like a firefighter getting hyung up inside a burning building as it collapses,they would be swimming around someone's grave site.
    Does that sound disrepectful to you,no matter what side they died fighting for?
    That's actually a far more complicated issue. Most true wrecks are grave sites yet divers penetrate those wrecks regularly. Take the Andrea Doria - they not only penetrate the wreck but remove artifacts. There are many classes teaching penetration methods for entering wrecks. I've personlly done several wreck penetration dives (no warships though).

    In the diving world - that debate is like the vollie vs career debates here. Some feel the ship is a grave where others feel its not. Its similar to the question about any other location people have died. In some cases its seen as hallowed ground, others, its just a location.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    This will put a new light on things, I think:

    Wreck may hold $1 billion in gold

    Times ColonistFebruary 3, 2009

    U.S. salvage teams said yesterday they had found the wreck of a British naval ship that sank in 1744 and may still be laden with a cargo of gold coins now worth over $1 billion. Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. said it had discovered the remains of the HMS Victory, the pride of the British fleet before it was lost in a storm with more than 900 crew aboard somewhere in the Channel between England and France. -- Reuters

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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