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HMS Victory wreck at risk from looters

Ian Harvey

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The wreckage of the 18th century Royal Navy battleship, the HMS Victory, is being endangered by looters.

The wreck is sitting at the bottom of the English Channel with many of its priceless goods still aboard. The Channel is a well-known waterway for looters to find the many wrecks that lie beneath it and scavenge for the valuable items.

The HMS Victory was first located in 2008 but its wreck still remains at the bottom of the Channel because of legal restrictions and controversy about if and how it should be raised.

Two nearby shipwrecks have already been looted and now experts are worried that it is just a matter of time before the HMS Victory is looted completely.  The famous battleship was sunk in 1744 and is said to have been the greatest battleship in its day. It was the second HMS Victory to serve under Lord Nelson. When it sunk it was a mystery as to why it actually went down and remains so today.

It was the American Odyssey Marine Exploration team who found the HMS Victory and when they found it they also discovered it still had 41 of its original total 110 bronze cannons intact on the bottom of the Channel. Ever since the wreckage has unfortunately been left to ruin and recovery attempts have been hampered by bureaucracy.

When HMS Victory first set sale in 1737 it was the most technically advanced ship as well as the greatest battleship on the seas. (Mail Online) Researchers believe that a cannon and lead ingots worth over $1 million have been looted from other nearby ships. Archaeologists leading the campaign to have the wreck resurfaced and rescued say that it will be disappointing for the HMS Victory to go the same way as its neighbouring shipwrecks.

They also suggest that many of the finds on the ship are valuable not only in monetary worth but also in historical value.

The HMS Victory required a crew of over a thousand men. It had returned from a victory in Lisbon and Gibraltar over the French, but she hit a storm that took her under the waves. It is thought that the sheer weight of the ship was too much for the stormy seas.