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Search for lost containers finds shipwreck from 1540

Fugger Family Coat of Arms. The shipwreck discovered is believed to be a Fuger chartered one carrying copper plates.

PortandTerminal.com, April 4, 2019

Salvage teams searching for containers lost at sea in last January’s MSC Zoe incident have discovered the oldest shipwreck ever found off the coast of the Netherlands.

While scouring a busy shipping lane for the missing containers, salvage crews found copper plates and wooden beams from a vessel with a smooth hull approximately 30 metres (98 feet long).

“It’s the oldest sea-going ship ever found in Dutch waters,” the country’s science and culture ministry said in a statement.

Copper plate cargo, salvaged from the shipwreck

The ship, dating back to 1540, was filled with a cargo of copper plates, some of which were put on display on yesterday when the find was revealed the BBC reported.

Jacob Fugger amassed a fortune that was worth around $400 billion in today’s money at the time of his death

The ship was owned by the Fugger family, one of Europe’s richest banking families. Based in Augsburg in Germany, the Fugger family amassed a fortune as bankers and merchants and among other things held a monopoly over copper production.

Although it is still on the seabed, divers intend to revisit the ship during the summer.

The MSC Zoe incident

Photo of container ship MSC Zoe after losing containers while at sea

The MSC Zoe lost 345 containers off of the Dutch coast in January. The ship is the largest serving European ports with a capacity of 19,000 TEU. The cargo ship encountered heavy weather while sailing toward Bremerhaven, Germany, and a number of containers were either damaged or lost overboard, MSC noted. Gale force winds and waves as high as 33 feet were reported during that night.

Tonnes of debris littered beaches on the Frisian islands, an archipelago off the northern Dutch coast, after the mishap

Many of the lost containers washed up onto beaches along the coast of the Netherlands and have been salvaged already. Others though were not recovered and sank in the sea.

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