Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Sunken Steamer Located in San Francisco Bay

Thursday, April 24, 2014

(NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries NOAA Office Coast Survey Navigation Response Team 6 (NRT6))

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—The SS City of Chester sank on a foggy August 22, 1888, in San Francisco Bay when it was struck by Oceania, a ship carrying immigrants from Asia. Now its location has been rediscovered by a team conducting a multibeam sonar survey from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. A side-scan sonar survey confirmed that City of Chester was “sitting upright, shrouded in mud, 216 feet deep at the edge of a small undersea shoal.” Many of the passengers aboard The City of Chester were rescued after the accident by the Chinese crew of Oceanic. “Discoveries like this remind us that the waters off our shores are museums that speak to powerful events, in this case not only that tragic wreck, but to a time when racism and anger were set aside by the heroism of a crew who acted in the best traditions of the sea,” James Delgado, director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, told the Los Angeles Times