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Shocking! Mystery ship that vanished 120 years ago found by sheer luck near Australia

The SS Nemesis was transporting coal to Melbourne in July 1904, after which it was caught in a powerful storm and vanished along with its 32 crew members. It was accidentally discovered by Subsea Professional Marine Services, a remote sensing company searching for lost cargo off Sydney in 2022.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Canberra Published on: February 27, 2024 17:46 IST
Australia, mystery ship found, SS Nemesis
Image Source : X Underwater imagery of the SS Nemesis near Australia

Canberra: In a surprising turn of events, undersea explorers stumbled across an old ship that had been lost for nearly 120 years and disappeared off the coast of Australia without a trace. The SS Nemesis was transporting coal to Melbourne, Australia in July 1904 when it was caught in a powerful storm and vanished along with its 32 crew members, according to the New York Post.

Although the ship was not found, bodies of crew members and fragments of the ship's wreckage washed ashore at Cronulla Beach near Sydney weeks after the storm occurred off New South Wales. The loss generated a media storm and intense public interest, but the wreckage was never located and thus remained a mystery.

However, Subsea Professional Marine Services, a remote sensing company searching the ocean floor off the coast of Sydney for lost cargo in 2022, accidentally stumbled upon the missing shipwreck. The wreck was found completely untouched, about 16 miles offshore and under nearly 525 feet of water.

"The 120-year-old mystery of SS Nemesis and the 32 crew members lost at sea has been solved, with the accidental discovery and subsequent identification of a shipwreck in waters off Port Kembla. With the wreck identified, the NSW Government is hoping to connect with relatives of the crew members, including three men buried in an unmarked grave in Woronora Memorial Park at Sutherland," said the Minister for Environment and Heritage.

Officials suspected that the wreckage was the long-lost SS Nemesis, but they had to use specialised underwater imagery to confirm the wreckage’s distinctive features aligned with historical photographs and sketches of the coal freighter. The ship's bow and stern were significantly damaged and rested upright on a sand plain.

Experts believed the SS Nemesis began to sink so quickly after being struck by a large wave that the crew did not have time to deploy lifeboats. Officials have urged families who lost ancestors on the ship to come forward. “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,” NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe said.

Australia’s science minister Ed Husic also applauded the discovery, which he hopes will provide comfort to the descendants of the 32 sailors who died aboard the SS Nemesis. “Every Australian should take heart in the curiosity and persistence our scientists have shown in this project, as they do in all their work,” Husic said.

Ed Korber, Managing Director of Subsea Professional Marine Services, said, "It has been an absolute honour to have discovered this wreck which will now finally bring some closure to the families of its lost crew members. Our marine and remote-operated vehicle team have navigated difficult challenges to get the first incredible footage that has allowed Heritage NSW to confirm this was indeed the Nemesis wreck."

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