Wreck of freighter located off Australian coast after 50 yrs

Canberra: A team from Australia’s national science agency has found the shipwreck of a freighter 50 years after it sank, solving one of the country’s greatest maritime mysteries, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) announced on Monday.

The motor vessel Blythe Star, a 44-meter coastal freighter, suddenly capsized off the southwest coast of Tasmania on October 13, 1973, reports Xinhua news agency.

All 10 crew on board escaped but three died before the survivors were rescued 12 days later.

The incident prompted the largest maritime search operation in Australian history to that point, but no sign of the vessel was found until the CSIRO’s announcement on Monday that it had found the Blythe Star’s resting place.

The discovery was made by a CSIRO team during a 38-day voyage on board the research vessel Investigator to study a submarine landslide off the Tasmanian coast.

A side project to investigate an unidentified wreck found the ship intact and sitting upright at a depth of approximately 150 meters.

The team used multibeam echosounders to map the shipwreck before deploying underwater camera systems to the site.

They found the wreck matched the dimensions and profile of the Blythe Star.

Vision from the cameras was then compared with historical photos of the ship to identify distinctive features, including the word “star” written on its bow, to confirm the wreck.

The team is hopeful that video imagery could provide insight into what caused it to sink.

The findings were shared with the families and sole surviving crew member of the ship and the Blythe Star Memorial Group, which is planning an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sinking in October.


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