Ship That Sent Warning to Titanic During Fateful Voyage Discovered on Ocean Floor

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

More than 110 years after the Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg, the ship that sent warnings to the famous vessel has been discovered on the ocean floor. 

Newsweek reports that the wreck of SS Mesaba, which was the merchant vessel that warned the Titanic, was identified by researchers at Bangor University in Wales. The university’s team used multibeam sonar to find the Mesaba. 

While the Titanic notably received the Mesaba’s warnings of icebergs, the warning didn’t reach the captain on the bridge. Unfortunately, in the early hours of April 15, 1912, the “unsinkable” ship hit an iceberg and sank. A total of 1,500 people perished in the disaster due to not enough lifeboats being placed on the ship. 

Six years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Mesaba was sunk in the Irish Sea during World War I. While making a convoy voyage from Liverpool to Philadelphia on September 1, 1918, a German U-boat’s torpedo took out the merchant ship. Twenty people were killed in the situation. 

Although the Titanic was finally found in 1985, the Mesaba’s shipwreck took more than 100 years to find. The media outlet revealed that sonar uses sound waves to measure the distance between a sound source and various objects in its surroundings. This kind of method can be used for navigation, communication, and mapping. It is also frequently used by underwater vessels. 

The Bangor researchers used active sonar to map the seabed. It also identified the Mesaba wreckage by emitting pulses of sounds and listening for echoes. Innes McCartney, who is a researcher with Bangor, says the multibeam sonar is a “game-changer” for marine technology.

Senegal’s The Joola Sinking is Described as ‘Africa’s Titanic’ 

Meanwhile, researchers reflect on the shipwreck that is described as “Africa’s Titanic.” The sinking of The Joola, which was a government-owned Senegalese ferry, sank on September 26, 2002, after it capsized off the coast of Gambia. It killed more than 1,800 people and only 64 survived. 

BBC reports that The Joola’s wreck was the second-worst non-wartime maritime disaster in history. It also took more lives than the Titanic. The British network recalls the events that occurred during the shipwreck on its 20th anniversary. It also investigates what caused the tragedy to happen. Survivors also share details about their escape from the vessel. 

The RFI also reports that the cause of The Joola’s sinking was due to the ship being in poor condition. It was also overloaded, with four times the amount of passengers the maximum actually allowed. The ship ended up sinking to a depth of 20 meters and is still thought to hold many bodies of those who perished. 

Along with wanting the raising of The Joola, the Senegalese and French victims’ associations are wanting a memorial to be created. While one memorial site was promised in 2017. However, the site in Ziguinchor that was set to be used is still not ready.