Australian researchers claim to have found James Cook’s ship

It would be historic. Australian searchers said on Thursday they had found the wreckage of Captain James Cook’s famous ship, the Endeavor, which sank off the coast of the US state of Rhode Island more than two hundred years ago. Their research partners in the United States, however, called this announcement premature.

The Endeavor, on which the British explorer made a historic voyage to Australia and New Zealand between 1768 and 1771, was scuttled in Newport harbor during the American Revolutionary War. “Since 1999, we have been investigating several 18th century shipwrecks in an area of ​​two square miles (3.7 square kilometers) where we believe that the Endeavor sank,” Kevin Sumption, director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, told a news conference on Thursday.

“I am convinced it is the Endeavour”

“Based on archival and archaeological evidence, I am convinced that it is the Endeavor he asserted. But the Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project said it was too early to draw that conclusion. In a statement, the project’s executive director, DK Abbass, said the announcement constituted a “breach of contract” and added that “findings will be based on proper scientific process and not on Australian emotions or politics”.

A spokesperson for the Australian National Maritime Museum replied that DK Abbass was “entitled to have his own opinion on the vast amount of accumulated evidence”. The museum believes that this does not breach any contract. The Endeavor is the ship on which Captain Cook sailed from England to Tahiti and then New Zealand before reaching Australia in 1770 and mapping the east coast of the continent. When she sank in Newport Harbor in August 1778, the ship had been renamed Lord Sandwich and the British used it to hold prisoners of war during the American Revolution.

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The British scuttled the ship, along with four others, to prevent a French fleet from entering Newport harbor to support the Americans. That was months before Cook died in Hawaii in February 1779. After two centuries at the bottom of the harbor, only around 15% of the Endeavor remains intact, according to the Australian National Maritime Museum. “The focus now is on what can be done to protect and preserve it,” said Kevin Sumption.

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