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More than a century after the historic ship was crushed by ice and sank, the Endurance, the lost vessel of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
In February, a month after the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s death, a team of adventurers and marine archaeologists set off from Cape Town, aboard the Endurance22 on a mission to find it.
With the use of underwater drones, the wreck of the Endurance was located at the bottom of the Weddell Sea, at a depth of 3,008 metres – approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded by the ship’s captain, Frank Worsley.
It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation
‘This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen,’ explains Mensun Bound, the expedition’s director of exploration. ‘It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation. You can even see ‘Endurance’ arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail. This is a milestone in polar history.’
This discovery, the team hopes will be able to bring the story of Shackleton and the Endurance to a new generation and inspire them to safeguard the planet’s polar regions.
‘We hope our discovery will engage young people and inspire them with the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed Endurance to Antarctica,’ he says. ‘We pay tribute to the navigational skills of Captain Frank Worsley, the captain of the Endurance, whose detailed records were invaluable in our quest to locate the wreck.’
The wreck is now protected as a Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty, ensuring that whilst the wreck is being surveyed and filmed it will not be touched or disturbed in any way.