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Black Sea mystery solved with discovery of missing ship

Ian Harvey

For over 150 years, the bottom of the Black Sea has held the answers to a mystery from the Crimean War. This mystery had its origins during the siege of Sevastopol in the 1850s.

During a terrible storm, thirty-four British ships sank as they headed for safe harbor. The precise locations of these ships remained unknown well into the 21st century. Historians, local divers, and treasure hunters alike have longed to identify one of the lost ships in particular: The Black Sea Prince, which was believed to be carrying 30 barrels of gold when it sank in November 1854.

Map of Crimean War (in Cyrillic) Черное Море = Black Sea, Российская Империя = Russian Empire (yellow), Австрийская Империя = Austrian Empire (pink), Османская Империя = Ottoman Empire (dark gray) Photo Credit

Map of Crimean War (in Cyrillic) Черное Море = Black Sea, Российская Империя = Russian Empire (yellow), Австрийская Империя = Austrian Empire (pink), Османская Империя = Ottoman Empire (dark gray) Photo Credit

The iron steamship was part of a British flotilla, and the gold on board was to pay soldiers’ wages for fighting in the Crimean War and to finance the British side of the battle.

Historians believed that the storm caused the Black Sea Prince to crash against nearby cliffs, killing all soldiers on board and sinking the ship.

The wreckage went undiscovered until recently when the Black Sea Prince was finally located offshore of the Crimean peninsula.

Siege of Sevastopol

Siege of Sevastopol

Experts made the discovery during the reconstruction of the waterfront in Yevpatoria, a city located in a Crimean region that Russia and Ukraine disputed until it was annexed in 2014. The city was damaged by British, French, and Turkish troops during the Crimean War in 1854.

Five ships were found at the bottom of the Black Sea less than a mile from shore. Three of them had British imperial insignia. Two of the ships are likely French, but the third ship is believed to be the Black Sea Prince. Researchers disclosed that all five ships sank due to storm damage and not from damage sustained during a battle, Mail Online reported.

Location of Yevpatoriya Photo Credit

Location of Yevpatoriya Photo Credit

Now that persistence has paid off, and the mystery is solved, the wreckage of the Black Sea Prince will be recovered and further analyzed.

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Any of the ship’s artifacts will be transferred to a museum of underwater archeology, which probably leaves many treasure hunters sorely disappointed over the gold barrels kept hidden under the Black Sea for nearly two centuries.