Bank Sanctuary Releases New Shipwreck Images on 104th Anniversary
of Portland Loss
November 26, 2002
Anne Smrcina, 781-545-8026 x204
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Stellwagen
Bank National Marine Sanctuary has released three new side scan
sonar images of the coastal steam ship Portland, which rests on
the sea floor of the sanctuary. The ship sank November 27, 1898,
during the infamous "Portland Gale of 1898" with the loss of all
192 passengers and crew.
new images were created by a Klein Sonar Associates Model 5000.
The Salem, N.H., company operated the equipment and provided ship
time to the sanctuary for an October mission to the shipwreck
site. The images clearly show the side-by-side smoke stacks and
the diamond-shaped metal walking beam that provided power to the
side paddle wheels.
October mission was a follow-up to a late July/early August 2002
joint research mission, during which theStellwagen Bank Sanctuary
and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of
Connecticut mapped and shot video of the wreck. The video and
side-scan images from the two missions provide visual documentation
to earlier work by American Underwater Search and Survey.
Although artifacts displaying the ship's name could not be found,
a team of independent marine archaeologists confirmed the identification
based on the evidence provided by the side-scan and video images.
NOAA funds six research centers around the country through its
National Undersea Research Program.
location of the wreck within the sanctuary's boundaries provides
protection unavailable in other federal waters off Massachusetts.
Sanctuary regulations prohibit moving, removing or injuring, or
any attempt to move, remove, or injure any submerged cultural
or historical resources, including artifacts and pieces from shipwrecks.
Anyone violating this regulation is subject to civil penalties.
Congress designated the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuary in 1992 as "an area of special national significance."
Virtually the size of the state of Rhode Island, the sanctuary
stretches between Cape Ann and Cape Cod in federal waters off
of Massachusetts. The sanctuary is renowned as a major feeding
area for marine mammals, particularly humpback whales, and supports
an ecosystem of diverse wildlife.
National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public
awareness of America's maritime heritage by conducting scientific
research, monitoring, exploration, and educational programs. Today,
13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square
miles of America's ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural
resources. For more information about the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen
Bank National Marine Sanctuary, please visit http://stellwagen.nos.noaa.gov.
Ocean Service (NOS) manages the National Marine Sanctuary Program
and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving, and
restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. NOS balances environmental
protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission
of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities,
sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards. To
learn more about NOS and the National Marine Sanctuary Program,
please visit http://www.nos.noaa.gov.
images of the wreck of the Portland by the Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuary using Klein Model 5000 side scan sonar. Images
provided by Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
side scan image showing smokestacks
and walking beam 72 dpi
side scan image of ship from
above 72 dpi
side scan image showing walking
beam and entangling gear 72 dpi
lithograph of Steamship Portland. Image provided courtesy of Maine
72 dpi version