British investigators have identified the wreckage of the freighter SS Mesaba, which sent warnings to large passenger ships on the day the Titanic sank. The wreck was identified at the bottom of the Irish Sea using state-of-the-art multi-beam her sonar.

On April 14, 1912, the SS Mesaba was transatlantic and at about 9:30 pm the cargo ship alerted the Titanic.

Upon reporting its location, Mesaba reported seeing heavy floating ice floes and several large icebergs in the sea. The Titanic replied that it had received the message, but did not confirm what had been conveyed to the bridge. The message was not delivered to the captain, presumably because one of his radio technicians had fallen asleep and he was the only technician present.

The Titanic had also been warned by other ships, but all was not well and the ship was trapped in a large ice field that night. At around 11:40 p.m., the Titanic, believed to be unsinkable, hit an iceberg and sank. 1,504 people lost their lives, making it the most famous and infamous maritime disaster in the world.

The SS Mesaba continued to carry cargo across the world’s oceans for six years after the Titanic disaster, until in 1918, while sailing in convoy in the Irish Sea, a German U-boat was torpedoed. received.

An ancient depiction of the sinking of the Titanic with survivors sailing in lifeboats or floating on the water.

multibeam sonar

Researchers at Bangor University in Wales have successfully identified and located the wreckage of the SS Mesaba for the first time.

They used a state-of-the-art multi-beam echo sounder (MBES) or multi-beam sonar aboard the research vessel Prince Madog.

A multi-beam sonar sends out a fan of sound waves whose echoes are picked up. Based on this, the depth of the seabed and its properties, as well as the properties of objects on the bottom, can be determined.

For marine archaeologists, multibeam sonar is as useful a tool as aerial photography is for archaeologists on land, researchers say. Multi-beam sonar allows the seafloor to be mapped so that details of the ship’s superstructure can be seen in sonar images.

Here we show how Multibeam Sonar (MBES) works on US NOAA's research vessel Nancy Foster.

273 shipwrecks in the Irish Sea.

SS Mesaba is one of 273 wrecks in an area of ​​approximately 20,000 square kilometers in the Irish Sea, scanned and matched against the British Hydrographic Office’s wreck database and other sources.

Of these 273 wrecks, 101 were thought to be unidentified, but many wrecks, including the Mesaba, have been misidentified in the past, so the number of new identifications by Bangor investigators is much higher. became.

Details of all the wrecks can be found in the new book “Echoes from the Deep” by Dr. Innes McCartney of Bangor University.

SS Mesaba in better times.

Sonar instead of a few dives a year

“The research results presented in this book are a validation of the interdisciplinary techniques that have been used, which are game-changers in marine archaeology,” said McCartney.

“In the past, we could have made several dives a year to visually identify wrecks.The unique capabilities of Prince Madug’s sonar have created a relatively inexpensive method for investigating wrecks. This has allowed us to return to historical information without costly physical interactions with each site. should be interesting to

Dr. Michael Roberts, who led sonar research at the University of Applied Sciences, said: Science. Department of Marine Science, Bagnor University.

“Identifying shipwrecks for historical and environmental impact studies, as described in publications, is just one example. We’ve learned more about how it interacts with biological processes, which has the potential to help scientists help develop and grow the ocean energy sector,” Roberts said.

Another view from Mesaba's multibeam sonar.

Another image from SS Mesaba's multibeam sonar.

Source: vrt


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