Ship belonged to Columbus, explorer says

NEW YORK — An explorer who believes he’s found the wreckage of Christopher Columbus’ flagship vessel off the coast of Haiti said Wednesday that the ship has been looted and needs to be excavated immediately.

“I think this is an emergency situation,” explorer Barry Clifford said. “I think the ship needs to be excavated as quick as possible and then conserved and then displayed to the world.”

Clifford was at the Explorers Club in New York to show photos and video of what he said was a pile of ballast stones from the wreckage.

“I think the evidence is overwhelming that this ship is most probably the Santa Maria,” he said.

The Santa Maria ran aground Christmas Day 1492.

If the wreckage Clifford has found is the Santa Maria, it would be the oldest known European shipwreck in the so-called New World. But scientists say it’s far too early to make any such declaration.

“The evidence, as you can imagine, after more than 500 years is not going to be very much because of time and the environment that the site is in,” said Roger C. Smith, the state underwater archaeologist for Florida.

Clifford, whose exploration of the site is being financed by the History Channel, is known for discovering a pirate ship off Cape Cod in 1984.

Clifford and his son, Brandon, first explored the shipwreck off northern Haiti in 2003 but did not at that time believe they had found the Santa Maria.

Clifford said a re-reading of Columbus’ diary convinced him that the wreck from 2003 was in fact the Santa Maria.

Photos from 2003 of the wreckage show a cylindrical object that Clifford said was a 15th-century cannon. He said the cannon and other artifacts had vanished by the time he returned last week.

“The ship has to be preserved,” Clifford said. “I hope to be able to work with the Haitian government and with all other countries including Spain in helping to preserve this irreplaceable resource.”

More in Local News

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Lynnwood man allegedly cuts Marysville’s 911 dispatch wires

The man reportedly told police he intended to trade the wires for drugs.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Most Read