It was more than a century after its sinking off the coast of Antarctica. It is the Endurance, the ship of the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. It was located, apparently intact and in good condition. It is at a depth of 3,008 meters in the Weddell Sea, in the Southern Ocean. The discovery of the ship Endurance under the ice is a milestone in nautical history.
The discovery was a collaboration between the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust and History Hit. “It’s the finest wooden wreck I’ve ever seen. It’s upright, sticking out of the seabed. Intact and in a perfect state of preservation,” Mensun Bound said. He is director of exploration for the mission.
Irish-British explorer Shackleton undertook four expeditions to the White Continent. The Endurance left the United Kingdom in 1914. It reached McMurdo Sound in Antarctica the following year. Due to extreme conditions, the ship became stuck in thick ice. The 28 men on board abandoned the Endurance and set up a rudimentary camp.
Finally, the team reached uninhabited Elephant Island. In a lifeboat, some went to South Georgia Island, finally crossing it on foot. Thus they reached the whaling station of Stromness, manned by the Norwegians. With them the others were rescued.
The expedition was a failure. But the story was considered a triumph of tenacity. And of Shackleton’s incredible leadership ability. After being abandoned, the Endurance eventually sank in the Weddell Sea.
Once at the location where they believed the wreck to be, the explorers used hybrid underwater search vehicles. The discovery of the ship Endurance under the ice caused enormous joy. The ship’s name remains engraved on its stern. It is clearly visible in the images.
“We are overwhelmed by our good one,” said Bound, who called the discovery “monumental.” The ship will remain where it is and will be studied, mapped and photographed there.
Dr. John Shears, expedition leader, stated, “We did an unprecedented educational outreach program. We have live broadcasts on board. New generations will be able to be inspired by the incredible stories of polar exploration. And what human beings can achieve when they work together.”