16 Shipwrecks Discovered in 2022

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

A colonial boat and a schooner
> Where found: Off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia
> When found: June 2022
> When sunk: 19th century
> Cause of sinking: Unknown

While conducting underwater monitoring of the famed Spanish galleon San José, discovered by the Colombian navy in 2015, off the Caribbean port of Cartagena in June, naval officials came upon two other vessels nearby at a depth of 900 feet. The ships are a colonial boat and a schooner believed to date from around the time Colombia fought for its independence from Spain about 200 years ago. “We now have two other discoveries in the same area that show other options for archaeological exploration,” navy commander Admiral Gabriel Pérez said.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Barge 129
> Where found: Lake Michigan, off Vermilion Point, Michigan
> When found: October 2022
> When sunk: 1902
> Cause of sinking: Snapped towline and collision damage in rough seas

In October, researchers with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society discovered the remains of a 292-foot vessel at a depth of 650 feet, 35 miles off Vermilion Point, and confirmed that it was Barge 129 – one of just 44 whaleback barges ever made. Vessels of this kind traversed the Great Lakes in the 19th century. The barge sank to the bottom of Lake Michigan in 1902 after a strong storm snapped a towline attaching it to another boat – which tried to retrieve the barge, but ended up damaging it fatally. The crew got to the other boat before the barge sank.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The barquentine Endurance
> Where found: Weddell Sea, Antarctica
> When found: March 2022
> When sunk: 1915
> Cause of sinking: Crushed by ice

The Endurance, the lost vessel of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, was discovered at the bottom of the Weddell Sea in March. The ship was crushed by sea ice and sank in 1915, forcing Shackleton and his men to escape on foot and in small boats. All of the crew survived the ordeal. The demise of the ship was chronicled by filmmaker Frank Hurley. The Endurance was found by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust. The wreck is a designated monument under the international Antarctic Treaty and is not to be disturbed.

The ferry boat SS Brookhill
> Where found: Mississippi River near Baton Rouge
> When found: October 2022
> When sunk: Sept. 29, 1915

Treasure hunter Patrick Ford rediscovered what was left of a sunken ferry boat on the banks of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The remains of the vessel were exposed because the Mississippi River had fallen to its lowest level since 1992 – the last time the wreck had been seen. Louisiana State archaeologist Chip McGimsey said what Ford had found was an early Baton Rouge ferry boat called the SS Brookhill, used to carry wagons, livestock and people between Port Allen and Baton Rouge. He said the boat sank in a storm on Sept. 29, 1915 when logs floating downriver slammed into its side.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The German U-boat SM U-111
> Where found: 40 miles off the coast of Virginia (exact location kept secret)
> When found: July 2022
> When sunk: 1922
> Cause of sinking: Scuttled by the U.S. Navy

The remains of U-111, a World War I German U-boat, were discovered at a depth of 400 feet off the Virginia coast. After Germany agreed to an armistice in 1918, the U-boat was surrendered to the British, who turned it over to the United States to study and reverse-engineer. In 1922, the U.S. Navy used the submarine for target practice and later sank the vessel with depth charges, but its exact location was not disclosed. In early July, wreck researcher Erik Petkovic and his colleagues found the submersible with a remotely operated underwater vehicle.

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