Mystery of Floridian Shipwreck Finally Solved by Archaeologists

By Ben Barron from Florida Holidays at Kenwood Travel


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Over the past four years the mysterious wreck of a unknown ship has slowly become more and more visible on the shores of Northeast Florida. After a storm in January exposed a significant portion of this anonymous wreck, archaeologists felt the time was right to go and have a closer look to see if they could identify the ship.


What followed was a painstaking trawl by the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) through reams of records in order to try and find a match. After exhaustive research LAMP found ten potentials among the documented shipwrecks between 1866 and 1974. Further research unearthed a photograph of a ship that struck an uncanny resemblance to the wreck, with two similar masts. The problem was that this photo only identified the ship as ‘Bermuda Boat’, crucially though it did point out that the boat ran aground in December 1947.


Armed with this new information it didn’t take long before an article in, rather peculiarly, a Singaporean newspaper told researchers that this ship was in fact the Deliverance. According to this article Deliverance was a cargo ship which regularly set sail between Jacksonville in Florida and Bermuda, it was sunk during a particularly fierce storm on December 13th, 1947. The captain of the ship, Wilson King, and his crew of eight men reportedly were unable to prevent the ship from running aground despite their best efforts.


LAMP have said that now this mystery has been put to bed it will continue to work on a 1782 British ship that wrecked just one mile from the coast of St. Augustine. This shipwreck is yielding some fascinating pieces of maritime archaeology with cannons, muskets and cauldrons already recovered.


Florida is a diver’s dream and is home to a vast array of shipwrecks that are waiting to be explored. Ships that have wrecked in Florida include the HMS Fowey, which was a Royal Navy warship and ran onto a reef in 1748 while escorting a captured Spanish vessel to Virginia. Divers can also reach the SS Copenhagen, a large steamboat which sank in 1900.


Perhaps the most poignant wreck in the whole of Florida is the Henrietta Marie, which was used to transport Africans to the West Indies where they would be sold as slaves. This wreck has provided archaeologists with a sobering catalogue of slave-trade artefacts including bilboes, which were shackles used to restrain slaves on board.

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