Scott's ship found at bottom of sea

The SS Terra Nova, which took Captain Robert Scott to his final mission in Antarctica, has been found at the bottom of the sea. Photo / File
The SS Terra Nova, which took Captain Robert Scott to his final mission in Antarctica, has been found at the bottom of the sea. Photo / File

The SS Terra Nova, which took Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his ill-fated mission to Antarctica, has been found by researchers off the coast of Greenland.

Seventy years after the ship was sunk, the wreckage has been located during the routine testing of echosounder equipment, researchers announced today.

Built in 1884, the Terra Nova was most famous for the Antarctic expedition in 1910 led by Scott with the objective of being the first to reach the geographical South Pole.

He reached the pole in January 1912, only to be find he had been beaten by 33 days by a Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen.

Scott's entire party died on the return journey. Some of their journals were discovered by a search party eight months later.

During its later life as a supply ship, the Terra Nova was damaged by ice in 1943 and sank off the tip of Greenland.

Its crew was rescued by the United States Coast Guard.

The wreckage remained unseen on the sea bed until last month when the Schmidt Ocean Institute stumbled across it while testing it equipment.

The Terra Nova was known to be in the area but its exact location was unknown.

The institute's echosounder technology discovered a boat-shaped object measuring 57m long, matching the dimensions of the Terra Nova.

A camera was sent down to more closely inspect and took photos of the wooden wreckage, which, when matched with historic photographs, confirmed the ship's identity.

Brian Kelly, the education officer at the Discovery Point Heritage Museum, told the Telegraph newspaper he was "amazed" by the discovery.

"It is remarkable that the Terra Nova has been found now, 100 years on from the race to the pole, the death of Scott and four of his crew, and in the year of various events to commemorate that occasion," he said.

"She was severely damaged when she was sunk by the US Coastguard and the front of her hull is peeled back, suggesting that the structure may not be able to take any movement."

Because of the depth the ship was found at, its condition, and the cost of any salvage operation, it was unlikely the wreck would be recovered, he said.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 28 Dec 2014 16:27:46 Processing Time: 480ms