213-Year Old Shipwreck Discovered In Lake Ontario

Posted: Aug 18 2016, 5:11am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 18 2016, 6:26am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


213-Year Old Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Ontario
Credit: Roger Pawlowski

This is the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in Great Lakes behind HMS Ontario

In 1803, a Canadian vessel sank to the depths of Great Lakes and was never seen again. Now, more than 200 years later, the fully intact ship has been discovered in Lake Ontario, making it the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in Great Lakes. . 

The three member team from western New York who has been surveying historic shipwrecks of Lake Ontario for a while has reported the discovery of an 18th-century vessel in deep waters off Oswego on Wednesday. The ship called “Washington” lost during a storm in 1803 without leaving any trace.

“This one is very special because this is the second oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes.” Jim Kennard who along with Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens discovered the shipwrecks in Lake Ontario said. The oldest known shipwreck in Great Lakes was a British warship named HMS Ontario that lost in 1780 and discovered by the same team in 2008.

The sloop Washington was built in Pennsylvania in 1798 and was a commercial selling vessel which used to transport goods and people in the region of western New York. It was the first ship to build on Lake Erie as well as the only one known to have sailed on both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. 

Washington was carrying at least five people including three crew members during its final voyage in November 1803 when the ship went down in Lake Ontario, killing all the people on board. The ship was resting on the bottom of Lake Ontario ever since until it was discovered in the end of the June this year. 

“It gives a window to the public to understand that hey, this is what was going on back in the late 1700s. To move a 53-foot long, 36 capacity ton ship over eight miles in winter was quite a feat.” Kennard told Cleveland.com.

The ship was discovered by using side scan sonar – a specialized system designed for detecting objects on seafloor and unlike other shipwrecks, this ship was not broken apart. The lone mast of the ship was still fully intact. However, its interior was damaged extensively. 

According to National Museum of the Great Lakes, Washington is one of an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 ships that have been lost in Great Lakes while around 600 of them wrecked on Lake Ontario. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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