The wreckage of a wooden steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888 has been found by oceanographers
The wreckage of a wooden steamship that sank in August 1888 has been discovered by oceanographers while they were charting shipping channels ahead of last year’s America’s Cup.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team discovered the resting place of the doomed ship using sonar imaging equipment last May and released their findings this week.
The 202ft vessel named the City of Chester sank in San Francisco Bay after it collided with an Asian steam ship in dense fog.
Sixteen of the 90 crew and passengers onboard died as a result of the crash that became the bay’s second-worst maritime disaster.
Media reports at the time initially criticized Oceanic’s Chinese crew for the crash but criticism soon turned to praise when the bravery of the crew in rescuing many of City of Chester’s passengers was revealed.
NOAA’s director of maritime heritage James Delgado said: “Discoveries like this remind us that the waters off our shores are museums that speak to powerful events, in this case not only that tragic wreck, but to a time when racism and anger were set aside by the heroism of a crew who acted in the best traditions of the sea.”
The ship’s rough location was first found 125 years ago by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey but these latest images reveal new details about the wreckage.
The new sonar images show the hull of the ship shrouded in mud, rising some 18ft from the seabed, with the fatal gash that caused it to sink clearly visible.
Despite these new findings, no attempt will be made to raise the vessel from her watery grave.
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Image credit: NOAA Office of Coast Survey NRT6