SS Mesaba: The Ship That Sent an Iceberg Warning to Titanic Discovered in Irish Sea


The SS Mesaba has been found after a century on the Irish Sea floor.

A ship that sent a warning of an iceberg to the RMS Titanic before its fateful voyage has finally been located in the Irish Sea.

In 1912, the SS Mesaba sent a warning radio message to the Titanic, but it never reached the bridge of the ocean-liner, which later sank on its maiden voyage, taking 1,500 lives and becoming one of the world’s most infamous shipwrecks.

The SS Mesaba was a merchant ship that sailed for the Red Star Line shipping company between Antwerp and New York. The ship was built in 1897 at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Ireland and had a Gross Register Tonnage of 6,833.

After serving as a merchant ship for six years, tragically, the SS Mesaba met its end during World War I when it was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine and sank off Tuskar Rock, taking the lives of 20 passengers.

SS Mesaba Found

Using state-of-the-art multibeam sonar, marine archaeologists from Bangor University have positively identified the wreck and revealed its position for the first time.

SS Mesaba ship titanic irish

Multibeam sonar image of the SS Mesaba lying on the sea bed in the Irish Sea. Source: Bangor University

SS Mesaba ship titanic irish SS Mesaba ship titanic irish

Out of the 273 shipwrecks scattered across 7,500 square miles of the Irish Sea, it was thought that the SS Mesaba was still missing. But as it turns out, it has just been misidentified in the past.

The details of all the wrecks in the Irish Sea found using multibeam sonar have been documented in a new book, “Echoes from the Deep” by Dr. Innes McCartney of Bangor University.

According to Dr. McCartney, the results of the research have been a “game-changer” for marine archaeology, as multibeam sonar has the potential to be as impactful as aerial photography was for landscape archaeology.

The SS Mesaba was discovered using the Prince Madog’s unique sonar capabilities, which have allowed for a low-cost examination of the wrecks and connecting historical information without physically interacting with each site.

Dr. Michael Roberts, who led the sonar surveys at the University’s School of Ocean Sciences, explained that the expertise and resources at Bangor University have allowed for high-quality scientific research in a cost-effective manner.

Identifying shipwrecks for historical research and environmental impact studies is just one example of the potential applications of the research.

The team has also been examining the wreck sites to better understand the interaction between seabed objects and physical and biological processes, which can support the development and growth of the marine energy sector.

Want to read more about the Titanic? Then click here. 


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