Researchers from Australia have announced that have found the wreck of Captain Cooks’s famed ship the HMS Endeavour off the coast of Rhode Island in the United States.
However, their American research partners have called the announcement premature.
During the American War of Independence, the famous ship was supposedly scuttled in 1778 to prevent a Frech fleet from entering New Port.
The Royal Navy’s Captain Cooks sailed the HMS Endeavour between 1768 and 1771 on a historic voyage to Australia and New Zealand.
Researchers say she lay forgotten for 2 centuries
Researchers from the Australian National Maritime Museum, the nation’s premier maritime museum, has been investigating several 18th-century shipwrecks in a two-square-mile area where it believes the HMS Endeavour was supposedly scuttled.
Kevin Sumption, director of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s researchers, told a media briefing yesterday that based on archival and archaeological evidence, he was convinced the wreckage was the HMS Endeavour.
However, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project said it was still too early to draw such a conclusion.
Dr. D.K. (Kathy) Abbass, the project’s executive director, called the announcement a “breach of contract. The Doctor stated that conclusions will be driven by the proper scientific process and not politics y the Australian’s.
A spokesperson for the Australian museum researchers said Abbass was entitled to her own opinion on the vast amount of evidence compiled by the museum.
Furthermore, the researchers do not believe it is in breach of any contracts.
In 2018, Mr. Sumption was among a team of researchers who announced they believed the HMS Endeavour’s remains were at the Rhode Island site. At that time, more analysis was needed.
HMS Endeavour renamed
Royal Navy Captain Cooks sailed the HMS Endeavour from England to Tahiti and New Zealand before they reached Australia in 1770 and charted Australia’s east coast.
The ship was renamed the HMS Lord Sandwich just prior to her sinking in Newport Harbor in August 1778. She was used by the British to hold prisoners of war during the American revolution.
The Royal Navy scuttled this ship and several others to prevent a French fleet from entering Newport Harbour to support the Americans.
The event occurred just a few months before Captain Cooks was killed in Hawaii in February 1779 after his third visit to the Pacific island group.
After firing on the Hawaiians, the captain and his men were soon overwhelmed. Only a few were able to escape to the safety of the ship. Unfortunately, Cook was one of those killed.
The Brits retaliated a few days later by firing their cannons and muskets at the shore, killing around 30 Hawaiians.
As a surveyor in the Royal Navy, Cooks commanded the HMS Endeavour in 1768, which charted the course of Venus from Tahiti. Having explored New Zealand and Australia and circumnavigated the globe, he returned to England in 1771.
The Australian National Maritime Museum researchers reported that only about 15 percent of the Endeavour remains intact after two centuries underwater.
Researchers said Thursday the focus now is on protecting and preserving the shipwreck.
By Geoff Thomas