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29th May 2024

Mystery ‘ghost’ ship that vanished with all crew members finally found after 120 years

Nina McLaughlin

The discovery was made accidentally by a team of lucky underwater explorers.

The SS Nemesis vanished, along with its 32 crew members, in July 1904 when it got caught in a violent storm off the coast of New South Wales.

Fragments of the 240ft vessel along with the bodies of some crew members washed ashore at Cronulla Beach – about 18 miles south of Sydney – in the weeks after the accident.

The wreckage of the colossal vessel has remained undiscovered for well over a century, until the recent discovery by a remote sensing company who just happened upon the sunken ship during a sweep of the sea floor.

The team from Subsea Professional Marine Services found the wreckage completely untouched, about 16 miles offshore under nearly 525 feet of water.

While the initial discovery was made in 2022, official identification of the wreckage as that of SS Nemesis wasn’t declared until towards the end of last year.

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO used specialised underwater imagery to confirm the ancient coal freighter’s distinctive features.

A spokesperson for the agency said in a statement: “Our visual inspection of the wreck using the drop camera showed some key structures were still intact and identifiable, including two of the ship’s anchors lying on the seafloor.”

The images gathered by CSIRO revealed the ship’s iron wreck rested upright on a sand plain, with its bow and stern significantly damaged.

The discovery also led to clarification around the reason behind the ship’s demise. It showed that vessel went under because the engine became overwhelmed due to the storm.

Experts posited their belief that the steamship began to sink so quickly after being struck by a large wave that the crew did not have time to deploy lifeboats, resulting in all of their unfortunate deaths.

The New South Wales Minister for Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe told The Telegraph: “Around 40 children lost their parents in this wreck and I hope this discovery brings closure to families and friends connected to the ship who have never known its fate.”

Officials said members of the lost crew came from Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The wreck of the SS Nemesis is now protected as a historic shipwreck under the Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018.

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