1894, called the Schooner Ironton collided with a Great Lakes freighter called Ohio The infamous “Shipwreck Alley” on Lake Huron. Ohiowreckage of It’s been found It was discovered in 2017 by an expedition sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.same team now announced the discovery of the 191-foot shipwreck Ironton Nearly 130 years after its sinking, it is so well preserved in the frigid waters of the Great Lakes that its three masts are still standing and rigged. That discovery could help solve an open question about the ship’s last hours.
schooner-like barge Ironton Towed by steamboats, it was part of a fleet that helped transport wheat, coal, corn, timber, and iron ore throughout the Great Lakes region. September 26, 1984 at 12:30 am, Ironton and another schooner, moonlightwas being towed empty across Lake Huron by a steamer Charles J. Kershaw When the steamer’s engine fails. The weather was stormy and strong winds brought her two schooners dangerously close to the stuck steamer. afraid of conflict, moonlightcrew cut of Irontontow line, setting Ironton drifting.
Captain Peter Girard and his crew attempted to regain control of the ship, but were blown onto a head-on collision course with the ship by the wind. Ohio, was carrying 1,000 tons of grain. According to surviving crewman William Woolley, he was too dark to spot the ship. Ohio until it’s too late, and Ironton Attacked the steamer on the starboard bow, punching a 12 foot wide hole in the hull. Ohiohull.
Ohio It sank quickly, but the 16 crew members escaped in lifeboats and were rescued by nearby ships. IrontonThe crew of the was not so lucky. The barge had drifted too far to be seen from the rescue vessel. When the schooner sank, the crew boarded the lifeboats, but everyone was dragged down with the ship because no one remembered to untie the ropes securing the lifeboats. Another survivor, William Parry, managed to surface and grabbed the sailor’s bag. He noticed Woolly nearby clinging to her crate and swam over. Eventually, they were rescued by a passing steamship, but Girard and his four other crewmen died.
Researcher, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 2017 partnership In collaboration with NOAA’s Office of Oceanographic Research, they searched for about 100 shipwrecks that they believed had sunk somewhere within the Sanctuary. They used unmanned aerial systems and autonomous underwater vehicles to do sonar scanning, among other tools.That’s how they found the wreckage Ohiotogether Choctawa 267-foot steel semi-whaleback steamer that collided with a cargo ship wakonda She sank in heavy fog and sank on 12 July 1915. Both ships’ rigging and almost all of her deck hardware remained intact.
one time Ohio Once discovered, the team further investigated the weather and wind conditions on the fateful night of the double sinking to narrow down the search area. IrontonThey partnered with famous explorers Robert Ballard and the Ocean Exploration Trust to map the area in 2019. titanicand the wreckage of the battleship Bismarck and USS Yorktown Finally, on the last day of the expedition, we captured a sonar image from the lakebed that clearly shows the wreck.
That sonar image didn’t have enough detail to identify the wreck. IrontonSo the team decided to capture video of the wreck with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).The footage confirmed what they discovered IrontonA deep water mooring buoy will be installed at the site to allow divers to safely visit the wreck.
“This discovery shows how we can use the past to create a better future.” Jeff Gray said, overseer of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. “Not only have we used this cutting-edge technology to find pristine shipwrecks that have been missing for over a century, but we are also learning about one of our most important natural resources, the Great Lakes. We will continue to map the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and this research will ultimately lead to even more discoveries about the Great Lakes and their unique collection of submerged shipwrecks.”
Image from NOAA/Undersea Vehicles Program UNCW