HMS Viscount Melbourne Wreck

 
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The HMS Viscount Melbourne was a three-mast, 800-ton sailing wooden ship about 150 feet long and 45 feet wide with brass sheathing that was journeying from Singapore to Macau in 1842 when she blown off course by a heavy storm and ultimately struck a reef in the Laconia Shoals, a large reef complex in South China Sea. The wreck lies about 40 meters deep beneath the surface.
 

The wreck was recently located by husband and wife team, Hans and Roz Berekoven (Maritime Mysteries). Hans and Roz Berekoven were intrigued with the wreck after reading `The Diaries of the White Raj' by Rajah Brooke, and they then searched the Singapore National Library for five days doing further research for whatever information they could find on the ship - leading to the discovery the "full account" report from the ship's apprentice navigator, Harry Thompson.

Working in collaboration of a business man in Miri named Troy Yaw, they have made several dives over the course of the past months on the wreck, each time recovering artifacts including wine bottles, preserves, crockery, buttons, coins and personal artifacts that will be donated to a soon-to-be-established Maritime Museum in Miri, Sarawak. Some of these artifacts were very well preserved - a bottle of one hundred and seventy year old cherry preserves have been brought up from the wreck that, when opened up, were found to have its contents still resembling that of individual cherries.

As of November 2015, these artifacts will be displayed at Curtin University over the course of a month. The Laconia Shoals, a 10 hour (approximately 100 kilometer) boat ride from the shores of Miri is one of the largest reef complexes in South China Sea, but the area is also some of the least understood and explored areas in the Indo-Pacific. The reefs are also the center of an international territory dispute in with China (2,000 kilometers away) in recent times.

Photo from http://www.maritimemysteries.org

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