Shackleton's final ship found after 62 years off Labrador coast

Shackleton's final ship found after 62 years off Labrador coast

The remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s final ship have been discovered off the coast of Labrador, Canada, 62 years after it disappeared. An international team, spearheaded by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), made the discovery.

The ship, known as the Quest, was identified on Sunday evening through sonar scans. According to a statement by the RCGS, the team meticulously researched historic logs and maps, cross-referencing this data with modern technology. By analysing currents, weather conditions and other factors, they determined the ship’s likely location.

Built in Norway in 1917, the Quest reverted to Norwegian ownership after Shackleton’s death in 1922 and continued to be used for Arctic research and sealing. In 1962, the ship sank in the waters off indigenous peoples’ territories while on a sealing expedition.

The Norwegian-built ship appears to be in remarkably good condition despite the circumstances, though it sustained damage when it slammed into the seabed. The Quest now rests on its keel at a depth of 390 metres in cold, turbulent waters, with its towering mast broken and lying beside it, likely snapped off as the vessel sank after striking ice on 5 May 1962.

With the wreck located, the next step will involve deploying remotely operated vehicles to capture images of its remains.

Heroic age

Shackleton, a renowned Irish-born British Antarctic explorer, passed away aboard the Quest in 1922. His death marked the end of what historians refer to as the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration. Shackleton led three British expeditions to Antarctica and was embarking on a fourth when he died at the age of 47.

In 2022, researchers discovered another of Shackleton’s wrecks, the Endurance, which was found at a depth of 3,000 metres in icy Antarctic waters, a century after it was consumed by ice. A team of marine archaeologists, engineers and other scientists used an icebreaker ship and underwater drones to locate the wreck at the bottom of the Weddell Sea, near the Antarctic Peninsula.

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