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Arctic expedition identifies found ship as English explorers’ Eira yacht

The researches confirm it is 100% the 19th-century British explorer’s ship

MURMANSK, September 17. /TASS/. The Open Ocean: Arctic Archipelagoes expedition, which worked along the Franz Josef Land Archipelago, confirmed the earlier found ship was the Eira yacht, on board of with English explorers had discovered the archipelago’s most islands. According to an archaeologist Mark Stepanov, the ship’s remains were found a year earlier, and during the recent expedition experts managed to identify the finding.

"The result of the studies is that we can confirm 100% it is the Eira," he said.

Role of ceramics

All historical reports prompted the Eira was to be right in that place. However, it was not easy to prove it. The pictures made a year earlier showed some object on the bottom. Divers during the expedition in 2018 worked very thoroughly in the area.

The depth was 18-20 meters, the water temperature between 0 and minus 1. It took the divers six months to get prepared for the mission. They bought special equipment for work in low temperatures. According to the divers’ leader Sergei Kovalev, the specialists experienced complicated weather and stream conditions. "We had very little time, the visibility was very bad, but still we have fulfilled the task," he said.

Noteworthy, historical sources said the ship did not wear its name on the side, nor it had a bell, which usually has the vessel’s name on it.

Ceramic fragments helped to identify the ship. One of them had an inscription "London," and a bottle fragment had a name of rum producer from the city, where the ship had been made - Peterhead. The divers took sizes and noted specific features of the ship’s structure and decoration. All those features confirmed the ship’s origin.

12-years-long search

The expedition began searching for the Eira yacht 12 years ago, but the success came in 2017 only. However, specialists have collected much information on the expedition. The Eira twice came to Franz Josef Land - in 1880 and in 1881. The expedition’s participants were among the pioneers, who discovered the archipelago. They gave names to most islands in the archipelago’s southern part.

In 1881, the ship was nipped by the ice. Luckily, all the crew survived the winter on the archipelago and next year they reached the mainland on boats. On one of the islands there is the Eira House, which nowadays attracts many tourists.