Historic Great Lakes Shipwreck Possibly Discovered

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, June 30, 2014
Main: diver uses Diver Mag on reef. Top: diver searches with PT-1. Bottom: Le Griffon.

Steven Libert, president of the Great Lakes Exploration Group, announced he has located what is believed to be the remains of Le Griffon, the first European ship to have sailed the upper Great Lakes.

The 45-ton barque carrying seven cannons was built by the legendary French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle who was attempting to establish a Northwest Passage through Canada. La Salle wanted to provide a faster way to connect France with its trading partners in the Far East and Le Griffon was to be a vital link in the route between Niagra and Illinois. On its maiden voyage the ship sailed through unchartered waters across Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. On its return trip Le Griffon and her crew of six disappeared.

Libert has spent the last 30 years researching historical records and conducting exploratory dives in upper Lake Michigan. On one of his these dives last summer Libert and his group discovered an area with a large hand-hewn wood timber protruding from the bottom. It is thought to be the vessel’s bowsprit and carbon dating tests done on a sample by Beta Analytic Laboratories in Miami and the University of Arizona are promising, but not conclusive. To confirm the exact identity of the vessel requires locating more items from the site, but with much of the ship entombed in the lake bottom, some high tech equipment is needed. Key artifacts to find would be one or more of the seven cannons. To effectively search the football field size area, Libert has acquired JW Fishers PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer. A powerful detector of ferrous metal, the PT-1 can easily locate individual ferrous artifacts even on a wreck site littered with many iron objects. To protect the scientific and historic value of this incredible find, a partnership has been established with the state of Michigan and the Republic of France. Work is continuing as weather permits.

Another explorer utilizing the magnetometer is professor and maritime archaeologist Greg Cook at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. “The thrill of discovery is what I love about archaeology,” Cook said. “When you pick up an artifact that is more than a century old, it’s like travelling through time.” The professor works with the university’s Archaeology Institute, which is both an educational and research facility. Part of their mission is the examination of historic and prehistoric sites, both on land and underwater. In addition to a professional staff of nine archaeologists, the institute has artifact conservation labs, exhibit space, and other special equipment including remote sensors for the marine environment. One of these devices is Fishers Diver Mag 1 hand-held magnetometer which can locate a large wreck at more than a quarter mile away. Another device is Fishers Pulse 8X underwater metal detector which helps in locating the nonferrous metal artifacts.

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands. Over the centuries, explorers from around world have traded with its inhabitants, and over the years thousands of ships have crashed on its reefs, sunk in typhoons and been plundered in wars. The area is a veritable graveyard of historic wrecks which caught the attention Captain Steve Morgan, who was fascinated by the tales of those lost ships and their valuable cargoes of porcelain, jewels and riches. Morgan formed the company Black Coach Management in the 1990s and began to acquire the men and equipment needed to find these historic time capsules. Three of the pieces the group picked up were JW Fishers SeaOtter ROV, a remote operated vehicle with high resolution video camera capable of descending to depths of 500 feet, a Diver Mag 1 magnetometer, and the Pulse 8X metal detector. One of the first wrecks the Black Coach team began to hunt was a Spanish Galleon that had sailed from the province of Palawan in the late 1700s carrying three large bronze bells for the newly constructed catholic missions in California. The ship was attacked and sunk by pirates and for more than 200 years lay hidden on the bottom of the South China Sea. The remains were discovered by local divers who came upon what they described as “a reef on the bottom that is not really a reef.” That “reef” proved to be the ship’s cargo arranged in a pile 60 feet long, 10 feet high and more than 25 feet wide. Morgan and his team, working with Philippine archaeologists, used the ROV to survey the wreck lying at a depth of 170 feet. Divers were then sent down with the metal detector and magnetometer and recovered hundreds of artifacts from the site.

A few of the many other explorers and archaeologists using Fishers detectors are Dr. Bridget Buxton with Univ. of Rhode Island, Dr. Charles Beeker at Indiana Univ., Clive Cussler’s NUMA, Mel Fishers’ Salvors Inc, Cultural Resources Dept. Biscayne Ntl. Park in Florida, Odyssey Marine Exploration, North Carolina’ Dept. of Cultural Resources, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Max-Planck Institute in Germany and Sea Heritage Panama.

jwfishers.com
 

Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Salvage

Sunken WWII Landing Craft Refloated

LCT 7074, the last known landing craft to survive the D-Day invasion in 1944, has been refloated as part of a project to lift and save the vessel which began in March 2014,

How Difficult is it to Obtain a Jones Act Waiver?

The American Salvage Association’s Jon Waldron provides the ultimate cabotage primer. There always seems to be constant chatter about waiving the Jones Act. In reality,

Italy Region, Island Seek $274m in Concordia Damages

Officials for Italy's Tuscany region and the island of Giglio said on Monday they would seek a total of 220 million euros ($274 million) in damages from Costa Cruises,

News

EU Regs on Ship CO2 Reporting Complicates IMO Agreement

ICS Concerned that EU will Preempt IMO CO2 Negotiations.   The global trade association for shipowners – the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – is disappointed

World’s Largest Boxship is DNV GL classed

CSCL Globe, the world’s largest containership and the first of a series of five 19,100 TEU containerships ordered by China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) in 2013,

New Players in Singapore Markets in OW's Absence

The downfall of a leading marine fuel supplier that prompted sellers to tighten credit terms in Singapore is skewing the post-OW Bunker jostle for market share

History

Sunken WWII Landing Craft Refloated

LCT 7074, the last known landing craft to survive the D-Day invasion in 1944, has been refloated as part of a project to lift and save the vessel which began in March 2014,

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

Editorial: 75, 150 ... What’s in a Number?

It is not often that I break out the tux for my editorial picture, but this special edition dictates. I know that I should argue that all of our editions are special,

Great Lakes

Fednav Celebrates Anniversary Trio in Cleveland

Fednav Limited held a reception on board one of its vessels, the Federal Mayumi, at the Port of Cleveland yesterday to celebrate a trio of anniversaries: the 70th

USCG Medevacs 80 Yr-Old Near Lake Michigan

A Coast Guard aircrew medically evacuated an 80-year-old man off Beaver Island in Lake Michigan Sunday night. The man’s name is not being released. At 5:40 p.

Great Lakes Coal Up 9% in October

Shipments from Lake Erie nearly double that of a year ago Coal shipments on the Great Lakes topped 3 million tons in October, an increase of 9 percent compared to a year ago,

Underwater Engineering

Woodside to Pick up Moroccan Acreage

Woodside advises that it has entered into a contract for an exclusive Reconnaissance Licence (RL) with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines, the

Zargon Oil & Gas Sells Hamilton Lake Assets

Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd. announces that it has entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement to sell its Hamilton Lake property for $25 million. Property

Strategy Can Maximize UKCS potential

Companies operating in the North Sea require a cultural shift to make the most of the its potential, according to a new report from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

Subsea Salvage

Sunken WWII Landing Craft Refloated

LCT 7074, the last known landing craft to survive the D-Day invasion in 1944, has been refloated as part of a project to lift and save the vessel which began in March 2014,

Reach Bags Technip ROV Work

Reach Subsea has secured a deal worth up to $10.3 million with Technip to provide remote-operated vehicle services on a newbuild subsea construction vessel to be supplied by Eidesvik Offshore.

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 4.7499 sec (0 req/sec)