Unidentified cargo vessels that sank in the Thames and off the South Coast receive heritage protection.
Two ships wrecked in English waters in the 19th century have received legal protection from the British government, reports the Guardian. Both vessels are currently unidentified and are sail-powered cargo vessels that were carrying slate and coal on their final voyages.
National Listing Advisor for Historic England, Ken Hamilton, said very few ships of this kind survive the ravages of the sea but would have been a common sight in the mid to late 1800s. He added: “They’re both part of one of the largest industries in the UK – maritime transportation – and there’s really not very much surviving of that fleet. So these are rare examples of what was once a very common sight.”
One of the ships, labelled as GAD23, foundered on the notorious Goodwin Sands off Sandwich, Kent. A sailing collier, it was carrying a large cargo of coal when it sank. The other wreck, WA08, lies on the West Barrow sandbank in the Thames Estuary and was discovered during a routine survey by the Port of London Authority in 2016.
The protection afforded by the government means that the two ships have now been added to the national heritage list and cannot be removed in salvage operations.