CLEARWATER, Fla., Oct. 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Endurance
Exploration Group, Inc. (OTCQB:EXPL) (“Endurance” or the “Company”), a
company specializing in shipwreck research, survey and recovery,
announces the successful completion of Phase 1 of “Project Sailfish”
with the identification of the wreck believed to be that of the S.S.
Connaught, a mid-19th century steamship reportedly lost with a cargo of
The S.S. Connaught
Built in Ireland and launched in 1860, the 380-foot iron-hulled
side-wheel steamer S.S. Connaught was lauded as one of the largest and
most luxurious ocean-going liners in service, a true Titanic of her
time. Upon sinking on only her second voyage, the S.S. Connaught became
best known for her tragic role in what has been called one of the most
courageous and daring rescues in maritime history.
The elegant S.S. Connaught departed Galway, Ireland on September 25,
1860, bound for Boston by way of St. John’s, Newfoundland. She departed
for the final leg to Boston with 50 first-class passengers, 417 in
steerage and a full crew of 125. In addition, she was quietly loaded
with [Pounds]10,000 in gold coins, possibly bound for a visiting member
of the British royal family.
Her routine voyage became perilous when she sprang a leak in a sudden
storm, forcing passengers and crew alike to join forces in an effort to
save her. Though the leak was brought under control, the doomed ship
soon faced a far more dangerous adversary–a fire below her decks.
Smoke and flames drove passengers and crew alike to the top deck,
building in strength so quickly that none of the gold cargo or valuable
passenger belongings could be saved. Lifeboats were ordered lowered,
but they were smashed by the violent waves.
Disaster seemed all but certain–until a tiny fruit transport sailed to
intercept the burning ship. By this time the S.S. Connaught’s hulls
were so hot they boiled the waves as they crashed against her. Heroism
abounded as a line was thrown across decks, transferring women and
children first, then the male passengers and crew. There were soon so
many people on the tiny fruit transport that they stood on every
available patch of deck, some even clinging to the tall masts and
The Captain of the S.S. Connaught was bound by tradition to leave last.
Soon after he departed, both rescuers and rescued watched as the S.S.
Connaught disappeared beneath the waves, over one hundred miles from
the nearest land. It was a long and trying night, but every soul was
safely delivered to Boston’s India Wharf the following day. Nearly 600
souls had been transferred from one of the largest ocean liners of the
time to a tiny fruit transport without a single loss of life.
“It was a real thrill for me to be on board for our inspection mission
and see the images of the S.S. Connaught paddle wheel come up on the
screen, seen for the first time in 154 years,” said Endurance CEO Micah
J. Eldred. “This is what we methodically worked for as we built our
research data, patiently conducted our first search and now enjoy our
first shipwreck find. Now, on to the recovery phase.”
Following in-house research efforts, the attempt to find the S.S.
Connaught began with a 2013 Summer sonar search covering over 700
square miles, roughly equivalent to scanning an area of ocean bottom 30
times the size of Manhattan. Endurance returned this month with a
remotely operated underwater robotics vehicle (“ROV”) to inspect the
prime target, identifying the wreck by its distinctive iron hull,
paddlewheels and artifacts within the debris field.
“Equally important to simply rescuing her valuable gold cargo, we are
excited to piece together the final moments of the Steamship S.S.
Connaught, and tell her amazing story,” said Taylor Zajonc, the
Company’s Director of Research. He went on to add, “Endurance
Exploration recognizes the importance of returning to the site at the
earliest possible time. High-resolution sonar surveys reveal extensive
trawling in the area. It’s already impacted the site, making it
essential that we document and recover historically significant
artifacts of this wreck as soon as possible.”
Endurance CEO, Micah J. Eldred, further commented, “Finding the S.S.
Connaught represents a milestone for our Company, and changes our
Company’s risk profile significantly. Not only have we located a
valuable shipwreck carrying a documented shipment of gold coinage, but
we have validated the operational mission statement we put into place
when we established our company: using the most modern day subsea
technology, coupled with exhaustive archival research, we are targeting
merchant ships containing documented, valuable, merchant cargoes which
have a clear path to legal title, that can all be found and salvaged in
a manner that produces profitable results for our shareholders. We
believe the S.S. Connaught represents exactly this type of project. The
location and identification of the S.S. Connaught proves up our
research, search and subsea capabilities, allows us to move a step
closer to the salvage and monetization of her gold cargo, and also
frees up our search and survey assets allowing us to move forward on
our next planned deep-water search project.”
The Endurance Recovery Mission
Endurance has petitioned the U.S. Federal Courts for the Middle
District of Florida for an arrest of the shipwreck, an appointment of
Endurance as substitute custodian of the shipwreck and a salvage award
or title to the shipwreck and its cargo. If granted, Endurance plans to
return to the site next spring or summer to begin a systematic and
well-documented recovery of cargo and artifacts. The Company also
intends to make a documentary film or television special to fully tell
the remarkable story of the loss of the S.S. Connaught.
About Endurance Exploration Group, Inc.:
Endurance Exploration Group, Inc. specializes in historic shipwreck
research, subsea search, survey and recovery of lost ships containing
valuable cargoes. Over the last 6 years, Endurance has developed a
research database of over 1,400 ships that are known to be lost with
valuable cargoes in the world oceans, and in 2013 began subsea search
and survey operations.
The Company will be posting sonar and still images as well as video
footage of the shipwreck to its website and to its Facebook page at the