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News: December 2018

Story published January 2011

England’s Post War Marine Heritage


PastScape now has records of Post War shipwrecks

Regular PastScape users will already know that the site offers access to a huge body of data about heritage from England’s territorial waters. This information is especially useful for planning in the marine environment as well as being of interest to researchers. Until recently we have concentrated on recording wrecks dating to before the end of the Second World War.

Recently however, a project kindly funded by the Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN) has enabled us to extend this programme of recording beyond that date.
The project added 525 records of post-war ship wrecks to our database searchable through PastScape.

Examples of these new records:

The super tanker Torrey Canyon, which struck Pollard's Rock releasing almost 120,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea, and was the world's first and still the largest oil slick disaster in English waters. The incident led to innovations in oil dispersal machinery and detergents, and to new international regulations governing Civil Liability (1969) and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1973).

The Radio Ship Mi Amigo, from which Radio Caroline broadcasted as she sank after breaking anchor in a force 10 gale on Long Sand in March 1980. Converted from a cargo coaster for radio use in 1960, she’d started life as a sailing coaster in West Germany in 1921! She suffered many trials and tribulations during her 20 years of use as a ‘pirate’ radio vessel, including several strandings, a fire, and had a very mysterious year in 1962.

Ramses II stranded on the Lydney sands, approximately half way between Lydney and Sharpness while under tow with her cargo of some 7,000 tonnes of Russian maize. She could not be refloated so the recovery of her cargo became a priority and in the time taken to retrieve it, the vessel broke her back before becoming a total loss.

Shipping aground in the River Severn

The Ramses II aground on a sandbar. The vessel's hull is split beneath the funnel.  Reference Number: HAW 9416/05  Crown copyright.NMR

The former Frigate HMS Scylla was scuttled deliberately as an artificial reef in 2004, when after being laid up for 10 years following its de commissioning. She had served in the Cod Wars of the 1980s, missing the Falkland conflict because of a re-fit. Since her scuttling she has already attracted hundreds of marine life species, and has provided scientists with the opportunity to observe the reactions of particular marine species to different conditions and threats.


Searching for more wrecks on PastScape

To search for more post war wrecks, use the advanced search to tailor your searches to meet your particular needs.


For further information

For more information about the work of MEDIN, please see their website.

Continuing on the theme of more recent heritage, for more information about records of Post-War architecture see our related news item.