Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice

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Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice

More than 100 years after Norwegian-built Endurance was crushed by ice in Antarctic, scientists have found and filmed the ship from Ernest Shackleton’s expedition – 3000 meters below the polar ice. Read the full story on Norwegian-built polar ship found after over 100 years under ice.

Explorers and researchers, battling freezing temperatures, have located Endurance that sank in the Antarctic in 1915 to the bottom of the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Found at a depth of 3008 meters
«We are overwhelmed by the luck we have had who have found and could take photos of Endurance. This is the most beautiful wooden wreck I have ever seen. It stands proudly on the bottom, intact and incredibly well preserved. You can even read the name of the stern,» says Mensun Bound, who has been responsible for the search for the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s polar ship which was crushed in pack ice and sank 106 years ago.

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The ship was found at a depth of 3008 meters, about six kilometers from where it was crushed by sea-ice on a November day in 1915, forcing Shackletton and his crew to make an astonishing escape on foot and in small boats. Everyone who had been with Endurance southwards survived the expedition.

Found after two weeks’ search
Marine archaeologists and technicians had been searching for more than two weeks using a South African icebreaker, Agulhas II, equipped with remotely operated submersibles in a 150squaremie area around where the ship went down. The project to find the lost ship was mounted by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust (FMHT).

Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice
Shackleton’s last voyage. Map by BBC

Even though it has been sitting in 3km (10,000ft) of water for over a century, 144-foot, three-masted wooden Endurance does not appear to have been damaged by anemones, fungi and other organisms that have taken hold on board after the shipwreck. The wreck itself is a designated monument under the international Antarctic Treaty and must not be disturbed in any way. No physical artefacts have therefore been brought to the surface. The expedition searching for Shackleton’s ship was allowed to watch – and film – but not touch.

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Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice
Endurance sank in the Antarctic in 1915 to the bottom of the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Built in Norway
Endurance, was built at Framnæs Mechanical Workshop in Sandefjord, Norway. The vessel was at the center of one of the most famous stories of survival in polar regions. Just a few years after Roald Amundsen became the first to reach the South Pole, Shackleton wanted be the first to cross the continent. The Irish-British explorer had been to Antarctica several times and was the one who had been farthest south before Amundsen. In 1909, Shackleton and the group he led had to turn only 180 kilometers away from the pole. Barely three years later, Amundsen reached all the way.

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Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice
Dr. John Shears, the expedition’s leader

Polar history
“We have made polar history with the discovery of Endurance, and successfully completed the world’s most challenging shipwreck search,” said John Shears, the expedition’s leader.

Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice
Ernest Shackleton. Illustration by Virtuos Leaqdership Institute

In 1922, Shackleton returned to Grytviken, on his way to another expedition in Antarctica. While in South Georgia, he died of a heart attack and was buried in the island’s cemetery on March 5, 1922. On the exact same day 100 years later, he was honored, among other things, by a military honor guard at the grave.

Norwegian-Built Polar Ship Found After Over 100 Years Under Ice, written by Tor Kjolberg

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