The Endurance22 Expedition has located the wreck of Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship which has not been seen since it was crushed by the ice and sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915.
What remains of the Endurance is 3,000m down in waters that are pretty much permanently covered in thick sea-ice, the same sea-ice that trapped and then ruptured the hull of Shackleton's polar yacht.
Because Shackleton had a brilliant navigator on his ill-fated voyage, a man called Frank Worsley, the expedition had a pretty good idea of where the ship laid on the ocean bottom. Using a sextant and chronometer, Worsley calculated the coordinates for the position where the punctured Endurance slipped below the floes on 21 November, 1915 and recorded it in his diary, which is now in the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) archives.
The Endurance22 Expedition team worked from the South African polar research and logistics vessel, S.A. Agulhas II, owned by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and under Master, Capt. Knowledge Bengu, using Saab's Sabertooth hybrid underwater search vehicles. The wreck is protected as a Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty, ensuring that whilst the wreck is being surveyed and filmed, it will not be touched or disturbed in any way.
Donald Lamont, Chairman of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, said:
"Our objectives for Endurance22 were to locate, survey and film the wreck, but also to conduct important scientific research, and to run an exceptional outreach programme. Today's celebrations are naturally tempered by world events, and everybody involved in Endurance22 keeps those affected by these continuing shocking events in their thoughts and prayers.
"The spotlight falls today on Mensun Bound, the Director of Exploration, and Nico Vincent, Subsea Project Manager. Under the outstanding leadership of Dr John Shears, they have found Endurance. But this success has been the result of impressive cooperation among many people, both on board the remarkable SA Agulhas II with its outstanding Master and crew, a skilled and committed expedition team and many on whose support we have depended in the UK, South Africa, Germany, France, the United States and elsewhere. The Trustees extend to them all our warmest thanks and congratulations on this historic achievement."