Iraq searches for U.K. ship that sank a century ago

Shatt al-Arab, Basra, Iraq.

Basra ( Iraq will launch a search for a British, artefacts-laden ship that sank more than century ago, officials were quoted saying on Friday, saying they will cooperate with academics for the purpose.

Alsumaria News quoted Qahtan al-Obaid, head of the antiquities and heritage department in Basra province, saying that the search, launched in cooperation with Basra University, will target a British ship that “sank at an unknown location in Shatt al-Arab during World War I, with priceless artefacts on deck that include two lamassus, Assyrian murals and a large quantity of small antiquities”.

He explained that the ship was coming from Mosul, and engaged with an Ottoman vessel at Qurnah, north of Basra, which led to its drowning and loss.

According to Obaid, the predominant theory had been that the ship capsized in the Tigris River at a location near the town of Qurnah, but a new one tells that, after the accident, the ship went adrift towards the south, at a point between Baradhiya and Siba. Obaid added that supporting the latest theory was the discovery of a British cannon during construction works at the area in 2017, which is believed to have been on board the ship but disposed of to reduce load.

He explained that, accordingly, searches will focus at the southern section, after decades of failed efforts by foreign missions at the Tigris River.

Obaid said the department will cooperate with the university which possesses advanced sensing systems.


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