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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Salvage

Returning to the Scene of the Shipwrecks

A participant in a diving field school last fall, graduate student Tori Kiefer is back to help a new set of students learn the joy of surveying shipwrecks.   Last fall,

Grounded Bulker Repaired, Heads for Japan

The Captain of the Port for Oregon and southern Washington canceled the captain of the port order on the motor vessel Sparna allowing the vessel to leave its mooring at Kalama, Wash.

Ardent Earns ISO 9001:2015 Certification

Ardent, formed just over a year ago as a merger of A.P. Moller-Maersk’s Svitzer Salvage and Crowley’s Titan Salvage, has been issued the ISO 9001:2015 Certification

News

Winners of Ferry Design Contest Selected

Winners of International Student Design Competition for a Safe Affordable Ferry to be revealed at the Ferry Safety and Technology Conference   Dr. Roberta Weisbrod,

Maritime Consolidation: Palfinger Aims to Acquire Harding

As maritime markets continue to struggle, merger and acquisition activity should heat up. Today, Austria's Palfinger Group announced that it intends to acquire

Glosten Promotes Lamkin to Senior Marine Consultant

Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Glosten has promoted Bradley G. Lamkin, PE to Senior Marine Consultant. As a Senior Marine Consultant

History

Returning to the Scene of the Shipwrecks

A participant in a diving field school last fall, graduate student Tori Kiefer is back to help a new set of students learn the joy of surveying shipwrecks.   Last fall,

This Day In Naval History - May 24

1917 - The first U.S. convoy left Hampton Roads, Va. to cross the North Atlantic after entering World War I. During the 18 months of war while American vessels escort convoys through the war zone,

ABB Saves 700,000 tons Fuel for Marine Vessels

ABB’s environmental friendly Azipod propulsion system brings greater fuel efficiency to diverse shipping segments ABB today announced the total fuel savings

Underwater Engineering

Wood Group Bags Statoil MSA

Wood Group has been awarded an evergreen master services agreement (MSA) by Statoil to support the life cycles of its offshore  and onshore facilities. Work and

Aquabotix Debuts Mini Inspection Class ROV - The Endura

Aquabotix, a marine technology company delivering the accessibility of today’s electronics products to underwater ROVs, announces the immediate availability of the Endura.

Wood Group Develops Advanced Analytics Capability with CeADA

Wood Group today announced that it is collaborating with the Centre for Applied Data Analytics (CeADAR), located at University College Dublin (UCD), to launch a

Subsea Salvage

Returning to the Scene of the Shipwrecks

A participant in a diving field school last fall, graduate student Tori Kiefer is back to help a new set of students learn the joy of surveying shipwrecks.   Last fall,

Aquabotix Debuts Mini Inspection Class ROV - The Endura

Aquabotix, a marine technology company delivering the accessibility of today’s electronics products to underwater ROVs, announces the immediate availability of the Endura.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.3240 sec (3 req/sec)