February 2, 2009

HMS Victory shipwreck found

ENTERTAINMENT - Deep-sea explorers have found a legendary British man-of-war that sank in the English Channel 264 years ago during a storm. The ship was found more than 80 KM from where it was expected to have sank. Pieces of the ship had washed up in various places after the storm, but its final resting place had remained a mystery until now.

The wreckage of HMS Victory, found in about 100 metres of water, is believed to have been carrying almost 4 tonnes of Portuguese gold coins. The ship was returning from Lisbon, Portugal and was probably transporting approx. 100,000 gold Portuguese coins for merchants, according to research.

So far, two brass cannons have been recovered from the wreck.

Thirty-one brass cannons and other evidence on the wreck allowed definitive identification of the Victory, a 53-metre sailing ship that was separated from its fleet and sank in the English Channel on October 4th 1744, with at least 900 men aboard. The ship was the largest and one of the most heavily armed vessel of its day, carrying 110 brass cannons. The cannons alone will be worth a fortune to British museums and collectors.

The famed ship was the inspiration for the other HMS Victory, the ship famously commanded by admiral Horatio Nelson decades later.

Two years ago the same exploration company, Odyssey, announced in May 2007 that it had raised 15 tonnes of silver coins from an Atlantic Ocean shipwreck. The company later said it believed the wreck to be the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes y las Animas, which sank off Portugal in 1804.

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