A new book – Echoes from the Deep by Dr Innes McCartney of Bangor University – includes the discovery of the ship which sent an iceberg warning to the RMS Titanic, before the ocean liner sank.
The merchant steamship SS Mesaba has been identified lying in the Irish Sea by researchers from Bangor University in Wales.
Using state-of-the art multibeam sonar mounted on the Bangor University’s research vessel Prince Madog, researchers have finally been able to positively identify the wreck and have revealed her position for the first time.
This research project set out to establish whether all of the shipwrecks in a given geographic region could be identified by name through the mutual study of the 3D models of the shipwrecks, alongside the historic text of shipping losses in the same area.
In 1912 the SS Mesaba was crossing the Atlantic and sent a warning radio message to the RMS Titanic. The message was received, but never reached the bridge.
Later that night, the supposedly unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage, taking 1,500 lives and becoming the world’s most infamous shipwreck.
SS Mesaba continued as a merchant ship over the next six years before being torpedoed while in convoy in 1918.
The SS Mesaba was one among 273 shipwrecks lying in 7,500 square miles of Irish Sea which were scanned and cross-referenced against the UK Hydrographic Office’s database of wrecks and other sources.
The methodologies subsequently developed to identify the wrecks enabled names to be given to 80% of the unknown ships, verified by their dimensions, their geographic position, and archival descriptions of the sinking of each ship.
In all 87% of the ships in the study are now identified.
This research developed a low-cost means of inventorising shipwreck datasets across entire national zones without costly physical interaction with each wreck site.
Author Dr. Innes McCartney
Innes McCartney is a nautical archaeologist specialising in the interaction of shipwreck archaeology with the historical record.