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19th-Century Whaler Explored in the Gulf of Mexico

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Anchor Industry WreckWASHINGTON, D.C.—According to a Live Science report, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and their colleagues have investigated the wreckage of a whaling ship situated under 6,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico with remotely operated vehicles. The shipwreck has been identified as the Industry, a 64-foot-long vessel that was damaged in a storm on May 26, 1836, while the crew was hunting sperm whales. Before it sank, the crew was rescued and much of Industry’s whaling equipment, 230 barrels of whale oil, parts of the rigging, and one of four anchors were salvaged. An anchor and the ship’s tryworks, a cast-iron stove used to render whale blubber into oil, remained at the wreck site. Records from Industry’s twenty years at sea show that many of the crew members were Native Americans and free descendants of enslaved Africans. If the Black whalers had returned to shore without proof of their identity, they could have been jailed under local laws, and sold into slavery if they could not pay for their keep while in prison, team member James Delgado explained. To read about exploration of another shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico, go to "All Hands on Deck."

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