Antarctic Shipwreck Discovered Below Icy Water
The Endurance was a 1915 Antarctic shipwreck which sank about 10,000 feet below an Arctic ice sheet, It was discovered by a team of archaeologists, engineers, and other researchers. The ship belonged to British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. It sank during an attempt to cross Antarctica via the South Pole. The crew survived but the ship was unfortunately lost to the dark, frigid Arctic waters.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust’s expedition, called Endurance22, used an icebreaker ship and underwater drones to locate the sunken vessel. The recovery was documented on the expedition’s website. The Endurance was located on the Weddell Sea floor, in the Southern Ocean near the Antarctica Peninsula.
The Endurance was found in nearly perfect condition. It was “By far the finest wooden shipwreck I’ve ever seen,” according to Mensun Bound, director of the exploration. The sunken ship’s name, “Endurance” can still be read across the ship’s stern in gold lettering. It remained astonishingly well preserved.
Locating the century old Antarctic shipwreck was quite a project. Sunlight does not reach 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface and the water is extremely frigid. It was those conditions though which allowed the ship to remain so well preserved.
Expedition leader John Shears stated, “We have made polar history with the discovery of Endurance, and successfully completed the world’s most challenging shipwreck search.”
It was ultimately decided that the Antarctic shipwreck will remain where is, 10,000 feet below the surface, so as to not disturb the Antarctic environment. The Endurance22 crew plans to take 3D laser scans of the ship so that enthusiasts can view it in future museum exhibitions.