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Tay search begins

The search for a fleet of Cromwellian ships which sank at the mouth of the River Tay in 1651 begins today (Wednesday 3 July 2002).

Dr Richard Bates from the University of St Andrews’ School of Geography and Geosciences and Scottish National Heritage (SNH) are currently conducting a broad scale acoustic survey of the Tay Estuary.

While the University and SNH are carrying out the survey with a view to designating the estuary a Special Area of Conservation, Coventry based dive company Subsea Explorer Limited will ‘piggy back’ the survey in an attempt to locate the missing fleet.

The 60 ship fleet of Cromwellian enforcer General Monk is reputed to have sunk at the mouth of the Tay after the 17th Century sacking of Dundee.

Subsea Explorer Limited believes the hunt for Monk’s fleet could become one of the biggest and most historically significant search and salvage operations ever mounted in UK waters.

To produce an accurate picture of the sea floor the Envoy’s research team will use high resolution, acoustic geophysical data to construct bathymetric charts, together with site scan sonar images and remotely operated vehicles for sea floor mapping.

Mounting evidence supporting the existence of the ships beneath the waves led Gary Allsopp, chief executive of Subsea Explorer Ltd to believe the search has a high chance of locating the ships and their cargo.

The value of the cargo remains the subject of debate, some estimates put it as high as £2.5 billion, others as low as £60,000.

Mr Allsopp said: “We have the best technology and the best people behind us and I’m confident that if there is sizeable amounts of metal – for example gold and silver bullion – down there, we will find it. If so, it will be of major historical and archaeological significance to the City of Discovery and the UK.”

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of Subsea Explorer Ltd Contact Stephanie Robertson, 01382 562885, mobile 07730 415095

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