A daring Antarctic expedition will search for the wreckage of Ernest Shackleton’s ship.
ANTARCTIC researchers launched today (July 5) a risky attempt to find and photograph the lost ship of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famed polar explorer.
The Endurance22 mission will be the second attempt by polar experts to find the ship that was stuck in ice in the Antarctic in 1915. Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of Britain’s most famous arctic explorers, died on January 5, 1922, and the expedition will begin 100 years later. The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust (FMHT) has launched an expedition to find, survey, and document the wreck in the Weddell Sea, which borders the Antarctic Peninsula.
After leaving South Georgia for the Weddel Seal in December 1914, the Endurance was notoriously stuck.
The ship was stuck in an ice floe – loose drift ice – by mid-January, forcing Sir Ernest and his crew to abandon ship on February 24.
Unfortunately, the onset of spring did little to help dislodge the ship in the months that followed, and the Endurance was crushed and sunk beneath the ice by November 21, 1915.
Previous attempts to find the ship have gotten dangerously close, with the 2019 Weddell Sea Expedition reaching the disaster’s presumed location.
An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) was used to investigate the ocean floor as part of the operation.
The drone, however, lost touch with the expedition’s SA Agulhas II vessel just 20 hours into its mission, causing the operation to terminate prematurely.
The SA Agulhas II will now set sail once more, this time from Cape Town on February 22, 2022, pending authorisation from South African authorities, in the hopes of locating the Endurance.
The expedition’s team had already discovered the wreck of a German ship wrecked during the 1914 Battle of the Falklands, so expectations are high for this mission’s success.
Dr. John Shears, who also conducted the 2019 Weddel Sea Trip, and maritime archaeologist Mensun Bound will lead the expedition.
The squad will use new SAAB Sabertooth hybrid underwater search vehicles this time.
The cutting-edge technology may be set up to scan the ocean floor without any physical connections to the surface.
“We are thoroughly preparing for this magnificent Antarctic expedition and will be departing from Cape Town in early 2022 after two years of careful planning,” Dr. Shears added.
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