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Mission info July 15 2006

Technology of the Search

In 2002, the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut (NURC-UConn) and the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary relocated Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary with side scan sonar using information provided by shipwreck researchers Arnold Carr and John Fish of American Underwater Search and Survey.  The side scan sonar image shows that the schooners rest upright on the seafloor, with their bows touching in the same orientation in which they plunged to the seafloor in 1902.  The vessels’ are in an excellent state of preservation, providing researchers a unique opportunity to explore two similar vessels at one location.

Side scan sonar images of the Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary site
Side scan sonar images of the Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary site (Courtesy of NOAA/SBNMS and NURC-UConn).
NURC-UConn and SBNMS visited the site in 2003, 2004, and 2005 with an remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to gather imagery and assess its condition. These expeditions explored Louise B. Crary’s portside and bow with its partially intact bowsprit and Frank A. Palmer’s stern cabin. Site investigations revealed the vessels’ hulls to be nearly intact with rigging splayed across the deck from their toppled masts.  NURC-UConn and SBNMS will continue to investigate this site to learn more about the great coal schooners and their part in the New England coal trade at start of the twentieth century.

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