Salvage firm finds the ship that took Scott on his ill-fated Antarctic expedition (and they weren't even looking for it)
- Salvage firm spotted 'unusual object' on seabed while testing sonar equipment
- Robotic vehicle used to visit the ship on the seabed
- Ship transported Scott and his team to the Antarctic in 1910
By MARK PRIGG
The SS Terra Nova, the ship that carried Captain Robert Scott on his doomed expedition to the Antarctic a century ago, has been discovered off Greenland.
It was discovered by a team from a US research company using a hi-tech underwater vehicle after they spotted an unusual object while testing their sonar equipment.
Scott and his party set off from Cardiff aboard the Terra Nova in 1910 with the aim of becoming the first expedition to reach the South Pole.
The US team discovered Scott's ship while testing sonar equipment. This sonar image shows part of the wreck on the sea bed
Terra Nova anchored off the ice foot near Cape Evans in January 1911. The legendary piece of Scottish maritime history was discovered by US firm Schmidt Ocean Institute during an exploration exercise
A crew from the Schmidt Ocean Institute discovered the Terra Nova whilst testing echo-sounding equipment aboard its flagship vessel - the R/V Falkor.
One of the scientists noticed an unidentified feature during sonar mapping of the sea bed.
Researchers then sent a remote camera called Shrimp to film the wreck.
Railings were also spotted on the ship's deck by the camera, known as Shrimp.
Camera tows across the top of the target showed the remains of a wooden wreck lying on the seabed.
Footage from the Shrimp also identified a funnel lying next to the ship.
Taken together, the features of the wreck closely matched historical photos of the Terra Nova, leading to the identification.
Brian Kelly, an education officer from the Discovery Point museum in Dundee, where the ship was built, told the Daily Record newspaper: 'The Terra Nova has such a story.
'She went through a lot in her lengthy history and really was the pinnacle of Scottish wooden shipbuilding.
'It is incredible that one of the most famous ships in history has been found 100 years after the race for the pole and in the year commemorating the event.'
The Terra Nova was built in 1884 for the Dundee whaling and sealing fleet.
In 1910, it came under the command of Scott, who chose the ship for his quest to reach the South Pole.
In November 1911, the explorers disembarked to start the 167-mile trek that was to claim the lives of Scott and his four companions.
The 'Terra Nova', the ship that carried Robert Falcon Scott on his exploration of the Antarctic, which researchers have now found on the seabed off Greenland
Polar Party: Intrepid Captain Scott, Oates, Wilson and Evans are pictured besides Amundsenís tent on their daring journey
The Terra Nova returned in 1913 and was bought by Bowring Brothers to resume work as a sealing boat in Newfoundland.
In 1942, the ship was chartered to carry supplies during World War II.
But on September 13, 1943, it was damaged by an iceberg and sank off the coast of Greenland where it remains.
Scott's expedition became one of the most famous in history, despite failing to become the first to reach the pole.
On arriving at the geographical South Pole in January 1912, Scott and his party discovered they had been beaten to it by a Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen.
Captain Scott on board the Terra Nova with some of the expedition members and crew
Officers and crew pose at the stern of the Terra Nova, one of history's most famous ships, in New Zealand, 1910
The polar team led by Scott died on their return journey from the pole; their bodies were found by a search party eight months later.
Their endeavour became popularly known as the Terra Nova expedition.
Marine technician Leighton Rolley was part of the Schmidt Ocean Institute team.
'I’m from Cardiff so I knew about the Captain Scott story and realised that the shipwreck would be somewhere around there,” he told WalesOnline.
'The story of Robert Ballard finding the Titanic has always made me want to discover a shipwreck for myself, so watching the underwater footage of the Terra Nova that we got out there is definitely a highlight of my career so far.
'There was a lot of excitement on the ship when we confirmed it was the Terra Nova.'
Source: Daily Mail, UK.