BOEM: DEEP DISCOVERIES

In the course of oil and gas exploration, BOEM has discovered many amazing shipwrecks. Each shipwreck tells a story of our shared history and provides a mystery to uncover. BOEM would like to share these mysteries with you by providing access to new 3D modeling never before possible using video publicly available from NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

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Featured Shipwrecks

15377 Shipwreck 15377 ShipwreckWith its wooden hull sheathed in copper sheets as protection against marine organisms and three towering masts carrying full sail, this large 100-foot long ship would have been a magnificent sight before it met its tragic end sometime around the middle of the 19th century in the Gulf of Mexico.
3D ModelVideoMosaic Map

Monterrey C ShipwreckMonterrey C ShipwreckThe largest of the three “Monterrey” shipwrecks that sank near each other. These wrecks lay almost 200 miles from land and maybe sank during the same storm. Monterrey C was by far the most damaged from hitting the seafloor and came to rest in over 4,000 feet of seawater. 3D ModelVideoMosaic Map

Monterrey A ShipwreckMonterrey A ShipwreckThe wreck of a wooden-hulled and copper-sheathed sailing ship that sank in over 4,000 feet of water some 200 years ago. The vessel carries at least 5 cannon and crates of muskets. Its mission remains a mystery. Was this a pirate, a privateer, a military ship, or a heavily defended merchant?
3D ModelVideoMosaic Map

Blake Ridge ShipwreckBlake Ridge ShipwreckLocated over 130 miles off the coast of North Carolina in over 7,000 feet of water, the “Blake Ridge Wreck," whose real name remains a mystery, was likely a fishing vessel caught at sea in a storm in the early part of the early 19th century. 3D ModelVideoMosaic Map

Monterrey B ShipwreckMonterrey B ShipwreckMonterrey B sank carrying a cargo of hides and large, white blocks of something we can’t identify. They could be tallow (fat from cattle) used for making candles, a tree sap called copal used in varnish, or even natural rubber. What else could they be? Pottery on the ship hints that the ship may have come from Mexico. 3D ModelVideoMosaic Map

Shipwreck 15377 3D Model

This is the first model of the high-resolution photogrammetry passes from Deep Discoverer (D2) on Okeanos Explorer EX1711 Dive 07. Much credit goes to the skillful Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) pilots on the Okeanos Explorer. Protocols for data collection and processing by BOEM's Marine Archaeologist Scott Sorset.

Shipwreck 15377

Early indications are that the hull construction and artifacts date between the 1830s and 1840s. It was a full-rigged, three-masted vessel approximately 100 feet in length. It was heavily built and likely a merchant vessel designed for transporting bulk cargo and not for speed.
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Shipwreck
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Lead Draft Markings

Draft marks indicate the distance from the bottom of the hull to the waterline. You can see the number 13 clearly and part of the number 12, indicating much of the site is buried under 12 feet of sediment.
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Lead Draft Markings
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Ship's Stove

The holes visible here may have been used to set cooking pots to warm food and drink without them falling out in rough seas.
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Ship's Stove
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Pumps

These large bits of machinery are part of the ship’s bilge pump system.
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Pumps
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Anchor

A sheet anchor was often stored in reserve in case of emergency. Typically, these are found in the middle of the ship.
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Anchor
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Chain Plates

Chain plates attached the standing rigging from the mast to the side of the hull. Their placement found along the hull indicates this was a full-rigged ship. Early indications suggest this was either a three-masted vessel.
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Chain Plates
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Anchor Fluke

The flat end of the arm of an anchor protruding from the sand. This anchor was likely slung, or “catted,” from the side of the ship while it was underway.
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Anchor Fluke
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Organic Staining

This vessel has extensive organic staining within the hull. This may indicate the hull contained bulk cargos of commodities like cotton, rice, sugar, tobacco, etc.
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Organic Staining
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Drift Pins

Long bolts that holds outer-hull planking to the ribs of the ship. Typically made of copper in this time period.
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Drift Pins
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Hawse Pipes

Lead pipes to prevent the anchor line from chafing or damaging the hull.
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Hawse Pipes
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Monterrey A Shipwreck 3D Model

This is the photogrammetry model of Monterrey A Shipwreck Ver 1.0. Data processing and design by BOEM's Marine Archaeologist Scott Sorset. More information about this wreck can be found at https://www.boem.gov/Gulf-of-Mexico-Expedition-Discovers-Amazing-Historic-Shipwreck/.

Ship's Stove

The ship’s stove was where food was prepared. Cooking was frequently done on deck to prevent fire.
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Ship's Stove
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Demijohn Wine Jug

Jugs like these often carried wine, mezcal, and other spirits.
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Demijohn Wine Jug
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Anchor

This was likely a “bower anchor,” one of the main anchors of the ship. The extra large iron ring would have been wrapped in rope and canvas to prevent the anchor rope from chafing. During this period, anchors were not attached to the ship with chains as they are today.
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Anchor
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Case of Muskets

Examples of two different types of British military, as well as European or American-made flintlock muskets, have been tentatively identified.
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Case of Muskets
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Block and Tackle

A ‘ throat halyard.’ Attached near the top of a mast, it is used to raise and lower the ‘yard’ and sail. Technically they are used on fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessels.
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Block and Tackle
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Stem Post

The Stem Post is visible here. This is the front most portion of the ship. In the images linked below you can view the lead-draft makings in roman numerals.
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Stem Post
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Gun Carriage Wheel

Wheel from the gun carriage. The wheel was usually found to be associated with a pivot-gun.
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Carriage
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Ship's Cannon

Called "guns" when aboard ships, this vessel appears to have been carrying at least 5 cannons of various sizes.
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Ship's Cannon
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Copper Sheathing

The ship was clad in copper to keep the infamous Teredo navalis or “shipworm” from eating the wooden hull.
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Copper Sheathing
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Cantaro

A type of water jug common to the Yucatan Peninsula.
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Cantaro
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Monterrey B Shipwreck 3D Model

This is the model of the Monterrey B Shipwreck Version 1.0. Data processing and design by BOEM's Marine Archaeologist Scott Sorset. More information on this shipwreck can be found on Ocean Exploration and Research's website: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1402/background/shipwrecks/welcome.html.

Unknown Substance

Mystery items that were once contained within boxes that are now dissolved away. Some hypotheses include tallow, rubber, and wax.
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Unknown Substance
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Hides

These were hides rolled into bundles for transport aboard ship.
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Hides
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Stove

This was the ship’s stove.
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Stove
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Crate

This was possibly an insert to place into a box for transporting case bottles. These bottles often contained gin.”
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Box
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Collection of Demijohn Wine Jugs

The bow of the ship contained numerous liquor, wine, and beer bottles, including large, glass demijohns that likely transported locally produced mezcal or wine.
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Collection of Demijohn Wine Jugs
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Monterrey C Shipwreck 3D Model

This is an experimental modeling technique used for the Monterrey C Shipwreck. This is colorized version 1.0. Much credit goes to the skillful ROV pilots on the Okeanos Explorer. Data processing and design by the BOEM’s Marine Archaeologist Scott Sorset. More information on this shipwreck can be found at: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1402/background/shipwrecks/welcome.html.

Anchor

This very large anchor was secured by a heavy rope attached to the ring at its top.
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Anchor
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Copper Sheathing

Copper sheathing, poisonous to most marine organisms, was used to prevent shipworms from consuming the wooden hull.
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Copper Sheathing
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Ballast

Ballast stones were used to properly balance the weight of a vessel when underway. Their presence at the aft end of the wreck indicates that the vessel struck the seafloor hard on its stern.
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Ballast
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Glass Bottles

Many liquor bottles are located in the stern of the vessel. They would have contained wine, beer, gin, and other alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is common on open-ocean vessels as it does not foul as can water. These bottles are often found in the stern as they would have been under the control of the vessel’s officers whose quarters were located in this area.
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Glass Bottles
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Lead Depth Sounder

Sailors would use a line and lead weight to determine the water depth when navigating in poorly charted areas.
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Lead Depth Sounder
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Bow Anchor Fluke

The fluke of the mostly buried bow anchor at this location indicates that it was secured in place at the time of sinking.
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Bow Anchor Fluke
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Hawsepipes

Anchor ropes were threaded through lead hawsepipes so that friction from the rope would not damage the wooden hull.
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Hawsepipes
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Rudder

The vessel’s large rudder, used to steer the vessel through the water, was badly damaged upon impact with the seafloor.
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Rudder
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Blake Ridge Shipwreck

This is the second model (Version 2.1) of the high-resolution photogrammetry passes from Deep Discoverer (D2) on Okeanos Explorer EX1806 Dive 09. Much credit goes to the skillful ROV pilots on the Okeanos Explorer. Protocols for data collection and processing by BOEM’s Marine Archaeologist Scott Sorset.

Octant

An octant is a portable navigational instrument used by sailors to determine their latitude at sea by observing the altitude of the sun or stars above the horizon.
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Octant
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Anchor Chain

The anchor chain extended an unknown distance away from the wreck but the expedition was unable to explore the other end of it.
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Anchor Chain
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Brick Pile

This pile of bricks may have been used as a fire-proof surface on the deck of the ship on which to cook or for rendering the ship’s unknown cargo.
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Brick Pile
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Rudder Gudgeon

The ship’s rudder mounts to the stern of the ship with a hinge made of brass to allow it to move. Part of that hinge, called the “grudgeon,” mounts to the sternpost and has a hole in it to receive a pin, called the "pintle," from the piece on the rudder itself. This rudder was badly damaged upon impact with the seafloor.
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Rudder Gudgeon
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Conch Shells

This cargo is a big clue as to possible ports in the Caribbean this ship had visited prior to sinking.
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Conch Shells
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Chain Plates

Chain plates attached the standing rigging from the mast to the side of the hull. These were found just outside the hull of the wreckage.
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Chain Plates
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Ballast Stones

These stones were used to keep the sailing ship upright and allowed the crew to shift weight as needed as they took on their cargo.
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Ballast Stones
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Wooden Frames

It is remarkable that after 200 years there is still wooden structure remaining. Understanding the spacing between the ribs of the ship helps us to understand the approximate size of the ship.
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Wooden Frames
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Stoneware Jug

Jugs like these were used time and again for many different liquids. In fact, they are so sturdy that many times the jugs can far pre-date the ship itself.
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Stoneware Jug
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Bow

These structural timbers form the bow of the vessel.
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Bow
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