ENDURANCE 22 EXPEDITION LOCATES THE WRECK OF THE ENDURANCE IN ANTARCTICA
The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust is pleased to confirm that the Endurance22 Expedition has located the wreck of Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship which has not been seen since it was crushed by the ice and sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915.
One hundred years after Shackleton’s death, Endurance was found at a depth of 3008 metres in the Weddell Sea, within the search area defined by the expedition team before its departure from Cape Town, and approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded by Captain Worsley.
The team worked from the South African polar research and logistics vessel, S.A. Agulhas II, owned by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and under Master, Capt. Knowledge Bengu, using Saab’s Sabertooth hybrid underwater search vehicles. The wreck is 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.
“Our objectives for Endurance22 were to locate, survey and film the wreck, but also to conduct important scientific research, and to run an exceptional outreach programme. Today’s celebrations are naturally tempered by world events, and everybody involved in Endurance22 keeps those affected by these continuing shocking events in their thoughts and prayers.”
It was Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ambition to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica from the Weddell Sea via the South Pole to the Ross Sea. The Ross Sea Party which was landed at Hut Point on Ross Island had the task of laying supply dumps for Shackleton’s crossing party, and achieved its objective, but at the cost of three lives lost. In the Weddell Sea, Endurance never reached land and became trapped in the dense pack ice and the 28 men on board eventually had no choice but to abandon ship. After months spent in makeshift camps on the ice floes drifting northwards, the party took to the lifeboats to reach the inhospitable, uninhabited, Elephant Island. Shackleton and five others then made an extraordinary 800-mile (1,300 km) open-boat journey in the lifeboat, James Caird, to reach South Georgia. Shackleton and two others then crossed the mountainous island to the whaling station at Stromness. From there, Shackleton was eventually able to mount a rescue of the men waiting on Elephant Island and bring them home without loss of life.
(Source: Endurance22 – Image: Taffrail and ship’s wheel, aft well deck. Image: Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust / National Geographic)