SS Terra Nova Wreck Found Off Greenland

An old whaling ship that carried Captain Robert Scott to the Antarctic and on a doomed expedition to the South Pole a century ago has been found off the coast of Greenland, the BBC reports.

A salvage company testing echo-sounding equipment discovered the SS Terra Nova, which sank after hitting an iceberg while carrying supplies during World War II.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute explains it discovered the SS Terra Nova while doing a shakedown cruise for its new flagship vessel, the R/V Falkor.

According to the Daily Mail, the Falkor was mapping the sea bed when scientists noticed an unusual bump measuring almost 190 feet long. When the crew lowered a remote camera down to the anomaly, they saw the remains of a wooden wreck with a funnel lying next to it. Historic photos confirmed it was the Terra Nova.

"She went through a lot in her lengthy history and really was the pinnacle of Scottish wooden shipbuilding," Brian Kelly, who works at a museum in Dundee, Scotland, where the Terra Nova was built, told the Daily Record. “It is incredible that one of the most famous ships in history has been found 100 years after the race for the pole and in the year commemorating the event."

The Terra Nova was a whaling vessel when she first went to sea in 1884. In 1910, Scott chose her to take his party to Antarctica. They left from Cardiff, Wales, and arrived at the frozen continent in November 1911.

From there, Scott set off to make the 167-mile trek to reach the geographical South Pole, hoping to become the first to reach the mark. PBS explains that Scott made it in January 1912 after overcoming a series of setbacks, only to learn his mission had been beaten there by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Scott and his team members died on their return journey. A search party found their frozen bodies eight months later.

The Terra Nova left Antarctica the following year and plied the waters off of Newfoundland as a sealing boat.

In 1942, she was pressed into wartime service as a supply ship for military bases in the Arctic. In September 1943, the Terra Nova struck an iceberg and began to sink. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter rescued the crew but the badly damaged vessel couldn't be saved and sank to the bottom, the BBC notes.

Leighton Rolley, a Welsh crew member aboard the Falkor, told Wales Online, there was great excitement on his ship when they confirmed they had found the Terra Nova.

"I’m from Cardiff so I knew about the Captain Scott story and realized that the shipwreck would be somewhere around there,” he said. "The story of Robert Ballard finding the Titanic has always made me want to discover a shipwreck for myself, so watching the underwater footage of the Terra Nova that we got out there is definitely a highlight of my career so far."