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Published: 2022-11-01

Marine archaeologists visited the wreck of Annie

NEWS The recently discovered wreck turned out to be in excellent condition. 70 meters long, 155 years old and completely untouched. With help from Umeå Marine Sciences Centre, marine archaeologists have now investigated the freight steamer Annie. Hopefully the ship will be classified as an archeological heritage.

Text: Markus Nordin

About a year ago, Patrik Höglund, research coordinator at the National Maritime and Transport History Museums, heard about a new wreck that had been found outside Umeå. It was a large ship that seemed to be culturally and historically valuable. An archaeological investigation was immediately planned. Marine archaeologists carried out the first dive in May, with the help of boats and staff from Umeå Marine Sciences Centre, Umeå University.

"Quite quickly we were able to establish that it was a well-preserved wreck. It was 70 meters long, the hull was intact, and most of the cargo and equipment was also preserved," says Patrik Höglund.

The wreck was the English steamship Annie, built in 1877 in Sunderland. One day in 1891, Annie had loaded timber in Sävenäs outside Skellefteå and was on her way to Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire, England. But just outside Umeå something went wrong with the navigation. Annie ran aground with severe bottom injuries as a result, and she began to take in water. A salvage operation was started, but the ship was to severely damaged. The day after the grounding she went to the bottom. On board there were 18 crewmen who all survived.

"What makes this wreck unique is partly that it is very typical of the time, a steamship built in steel. But it is also that all original things on board are still there, and the ship is still loaded with timber. In addition, it is situated in a shallow area which makes it possible to dive on, he says.

A monitoring plan is now being drawn up for the wreck. Hopefully Annie will be classified as an archeological heritage. Patrik Höglund would like to see more people get the chance to experience the wreck, which is located at a depth of merely 30 meters.

- It would be great if you could place an anchor buoy close to the site. Then you would both avoid the risk of the wreck being damaged by anchors, and divers would have a rope to follow to get down to the right place.

The collaboration with Umeå Marine Sciences Centre continues, and later it is time for new dives from the research vessel Botnica.

- Working with them has been very valuable. The ship Botnica and the smaller boat that we have had access to are suitable, and the staff members have important skills and own experience of diving work.