ROVworld Subsea Information

Time capsule from the deep revealed Jan 2 2004
Date: Saturday, January 03, 2004 @ 15:48:29 EST
Topic: GENERAL NEWS


THE inside of an historic submarine, which sank off the North Wales coast, has been seen for the first time in more than 120 years.
Retired marine archaeologist Mike Bowyer has dived to the Resurgam to put a camera inside.

It was the first mechanically powered submarine, built by the Rev George Garrett in 1880, in Birkenhead. But the pioneering vessel sank during a storm off the coast of Rhyl in 1880 on its maiden voyage. Now, for the first time since that day, the inside of the old engine house complete with boiler and pipeworks, has been seen. The film is due to be shown early this year on Channel 4's Wreck Detectives. The documentary shows Bill Garrett, the great-grandson of the submarine's builder, watching the pictures relayed to the surface. The sub lay undiscovered for more than 100 years until the wreck was found by Chester diver Keith Hurley in 1995. Mr Bowyer has dived the Resurgam many times, and now holds the licence to explore it. During summer he visited the vessel on four occasions spending an hour on each dive filming inside. "I pushed the camera through the conning tower and through the damaged hole in the bow about 10 ft," Mr Bowyer said. "I filmed the boiler - the propulsion system. The submarine was powered by a steam engine. We now know she is more or less intact inside. "It was interesting to see how the inside is different to the original design. Victorian builders just made the changes when they were building it. We also saw a few other visitors inside including conger eels. "This is the first time anybody has seen inside the Resurgam for 123 years." Before Mr Bowyer could take his historic film footage, he had to get permission from Welsh historic monuments agency Cadw. He is currently sifting through hours of footage on the Resurgam dives. Information collated will be sent to the Royal Commission for Historic and Ancient Monuments. The retired marine archaeologist faces a race against time to save the Resurgam from its watery grave, Every year it is deteriorating and could soon be beyond salvage, with the cost of raising the sub estimated at more than £2m. Currently hopes are pinned on weaving its salvation into proposals for a multi-million pound conversion of Rhyl's Froyd Harbour into a marina. Mr Bowyer believes the Resurgam could prove a major tourist attraction for the region, but first funding has to be found to raise and preserve it. "The hull is deteriorating. It will be expensive to raise the Resurgam. If we do bring it up, the question is where are we going to take it," said Mr Bowyer. "We are in talks at the moment." Mr Garrett has also made more than 40 trips to North Wales to try and raise the submarine. He agrees time is not on their side and it has to be saved soon. Theories suggest the reasons why it was eventually discovered may also be the key to its downfall. The Resurgam was in good condition when it was found because it had remained buried in the sea-bed, preserved for decades, scientists believe. But it seems the submarine may have been moved from its resting place between 1992 and 1995 by a dredger working on the BHP gas pipeline. The pipeline is only feet from the Resurgam. Damage to the submarine's hull is consistent with it being dragged by a ship's anchor. Another theory is shifting tides washed away layers which hid the Resurgam's location.

January 2, 2004.


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Source: ic NorthWales
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