Update: English Heritage Surveying Potential Pirate Ship Site

Local diver, Todd Stevens

Divers commissioned by English Heritage plan to survey the seabed off Pendrathen today.

St Mary’s shipwreck hunter Todd Stevens contacted the preservation body when he discovered what could be the wreck of a ship that formed part of an infamous Scilly-based pirate’s fleet.

Todd has a licence from the agency to investigate recognized sites. He thinks he may have found the wreck of the John. It was a ship stolen by East India Company worker John Mucknell as he turned pirate.

In 1645 the ship was wrecked after the King sent supporters to try and rein-in Mucknell.

Todd spoke on Radio Scilly last year of his fascination with the plunderer about whom he published a book.

From Radio Scilly

Todd Stevens talks to Radio Scilly about the John and the wreck site

Four divers working for Wessex Archaeology will assess whether it is that wreck, confirm positions and record the level of sediment. They’ll film the site using an HD camera.

Alison James of English Heritage says the seabed level has dropped since they last investigated in 2004 and that should improve visibility of what lies on the seabed.

There wasn’t enough evidence last time to warrant applying the Protection of Wrecks Act to the site.

Alison says there are 46 of these restricted areas in England and Scilly already has 4.

Todd doesn’t expect the site to gain this status as the evidence he has seen is inconclusive as to what ship this was.

Due to its position, in a very busy channel, it has been subject to much contamination through the ages. He says divers will also check out the area around Innisidgen where ships’ guns were found by Todd in 2001. They may have come from the John.

The investigation team have already lost one day of their 5 day programme because of bad weather on the south coast and Alison says they can’t extend their contract beyond 4 days.

They’ll be diving in shallow water of between 2.75m and 10m but they will have to work around the Scillonian III and large vessels passing in Crow Sound.