Monday, January 14, 2008

Breaking news

With apologies for a very crude bit of computerized translation from Spanish, here is an article from the daily newspaper in Santo Domingo, the Diario Libre, describing the status of the wreck of the Quedah Merchant. If anyone would like to offer a better translation, the original article is here.

SANTO DOMINGO Dec. 20, 2007. The Ministry of Culture, through the National Bureau of Patromonio Cultural Underwater (ONPCS), signed an agreement in 2005 with a researcher to locate the remains of the ship's captain Kidd, which were recently discovered by a tourist in near the Catalina Island, in La Romana.

Burt Webber, known researcher who discovered the Spanish galleon Concecpión at Banco de la Plata, was commissioned by Culture to locate the boat Kidd, a famous pirate of the late seventeenth century.

Lourdes Camilo deCuello, undersecretary of Cultural Heritage, FW informed that in the coming days the Executive Branch will issue a decree to declare the area a protected area where there are the remains of the boat Quedaght Merchant.

"Webber was devoted for many years to investigate all matters relating to life of the famous pirate and concluded that the remains of their boat, the Quedagh Merchant, were located in the river Dulce de La Romana, or in the vicinity of Catalina Island," highlight a communique sent to DL.

He recounted that for several months has conducted studies on magnetic and visual finds in the  River, where significant magnetic anomalies were located, without any positive result.

"Months later, the ONPCS asked the captain Tracy Bowden, discoverer of the galleons Toulouse and Guadeloupe in Samana Bay, and who has more than 30 years working in the country, to make investigations and excavations in the anomalies detected by Webber. Results were also negative," said the official.

The historical narratives of Captain Kidd said after practice piracy in the Indian and Atlantic oceans, took refuge on the coast of the Dominican Republic to wait for a new ship that will take back to New York, as his ship was in poor condition. Kidd handed over all the goods and weapons to another ship and decided to burn and sink the Quedagh Merchant.

The discovery
Camilo explained that the first to receive the news of the discovery were the authorities of Culture, as the Italian tourist Ferruccio Fiorucci announced the discovery.

"He discovered a conglomerate of guns and the captain of the Navy of Casa de Campo alerted our office to notify the deputy head of the office of Underwater Heritage, Peter Borrell and Francis Soto. Fiorucci both performed alongside the site visit," said Camilo.

The site, located near the cliffs and a rocky bottom, with only 8 feet of water, has 26 guns and several sections of iron anchors. The shape of the conglomerate and the provision of clearly indicates that the guns were used at the time of the sinking as ballast of a ship. At the site, the soil and rock conditions at the high waves and the surf that occurs there, we found no remains of the wooden boat or any other device.

Technical Indiana
The ONPCS invited technicians from the University of Indiana who were in the Isabela conducting archaeological surveys under agreement with the ONPCS to visit the site to assist in the investigation of the wreck. They conducted a survey and the ONPCS working on the definitive identification of the vessel and in the creation of a submarine fleet, and to preserve the area for the enjoyment of divers who can access it in absolute calm days.

"We also invited Chris Macort, a major historian about the pirate Kidd, to visit the site and contribute to the identification of the remains."

Attractive tourist
Lourdes Camilo de Cuello explained that while leaving the decree, units of the Navy mounted surveillance for the purpose of protecting the area. "We hope that domestic and international tourists come. It is good to report that the location is in very deep waters," he said.

- Severe Rivera

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