World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Historic pirate ship found in Tonga


Media Release
9 August 2012

Historic pirate ship found in Tonga


Aerial View. Photo: Tonga Visitors' Bureau

The people of Foa Island, a member of the Ha’apai Island group in the Kingdom of Tonga, are celebrating the discovery of a 200-year-old ship wreck found by a local diver and believed to be the legendary Port-au-Prince. The Port-au-Prince was an English ship of war, sailing through Tongan waters in 1806 in search of whales. She was seized by Chief Fīnau Ulukālala of Ha'apai and his people, who killed most of the crew, and, according to locals, left treasure aboard to sink with the ship.

“This is a significant find for the people of Tonga. This ship wreck will reveal a great deal of information about the history of Tonga and specifically the Ha’apai Islands,” says Sandra Fifita, Tourism Marketing Officer from the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism.

The arrival of the Port-au-Prince in 1806 resulted in one of the most valuable historical documents of pre-Christian life in the Pacific Islands. William Mariner; a young deck-hand on the Port-au-Prince, was taken by Chief Fīnau Ulukālala to live with him and his people for four years. On returning to England, he wrote a detailed account of his experience.

“The ship wreck is also an exciting opportunity for diving in Tonga. If it proves to be the Port-au-Prince then we may have treasure hunters and Tongan locals clambering to find the remains of years of successful pirate raids against the enemies of the British.

Diver With Camera. Photo: Tonga Visitors' Bureau


“Legend tells that the Chief salvaged the iron, which was of great value in Tonga at the time, and then sunk the ship and all her bounty. It is believed that a considerable amount of copper, silver and gold is resting with the wreck, along with a number of silver candlesticks, incense pans, crucifixes and chalices,” says Fifita.

The ship wreck was discovered by Tevita Moala who has always kept an eye out for the ship when diving in the area. Local diving expert Darren Rice from Matafonua Lodge Resort has since contacted the Greenwich Maritime Museum and Marine Archaeological Society which has confirmed the age of the wreck due to copper sheathing found at the site. Copper sheathing was only used between 1780 and 1850 to combat shipworm and marine weeds. Local divers will now map out the area for diving and record the data to send to Greenwich Maritime Museum and Marine Archaeological Society.

“The Kingdom of Tonga is a stunning destination for international travellers, especially those keen on a unique diving experience. With 176 islands offering pristine waters and coral reefs rich with an abundance of marine life, visitors can enjoy exploring underwater cliffs, volcanic tunnels and wrecked ships full of history and folklore,” concludes Fifita.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Julie Webb-Pullman: Palestinian National Unity Government

A national unity government. Elections. A new-look PLO. Community reconciliation. Big hopes, even bigger expectations as representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas came to an agreement in Gaza today to form a national unity government and hold elections. More>>

ALSO:

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news