May 28th 2021

Scientists discover a missing shipwreck from 1913

Here is the anchor winch in the bow of the ship, found at a depth of 218 meters. Photo: Mareano
Researchers on a MAREANO-cruise found a wreck off Bodø that they assume must be DS "Malmberget". After 108 years, we may be close to solving the mystery of this ship, which disappeared in a storm with 43 people on board.

Author: Stine Hommedal, IMR

“We expected to find a coral reef”, says the leader of the expedition, Pål Buhl-Mortensen.

On Saturday, 22 May, the research vessel "G.O. Sars" was in waters west of Tennholmen lighthouse in Bodø, performing a video survey of the sea floor for the MAREANO programme.

But what appeared on their screens wasn’t coral.

“Instead we found the wreck of a steel-hulled ship that was 100 metres long”, says Buhl-Mortensen.

Disappeared in a storm

The fate of the Swedish iron ore carrier DS Malmberget, which sailed from the port of Narvik on 27 November 1913, has been a riddle for historians for over a century, writes NRK.

Now the marine scientists may have solved it.

“Based on information about known shipwrecks and ships lost at sea, as well comparisons of photos and model ships, we soon began to suspect that this could be the DS Malmberget”, explains Buhl-Mortensen. “After also reading the descriptions of what happened, reviewing the last definite observations and looking at the wreckage found at that time, we feel fairly certain.”

The ship disappeared in a storm 108 years ago.

Large corals and an old lantern

The wreck lies at a depth of 218 metres, and the large coral reefs on the hull suggest it has been there for a long time.

“There are two species of coral growing on the hull, and their size indicates that the ship went down many years ago”, says Buhl-Mortensen. “We also found a lantern of a type used long ago, which confirms that the ship is old. And, at at last, we got the final evidence on camera - the two first letters of it's name, MA, written on the wreck.”

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MAREANO maps the bathymetry, seafloor conditions, biodiversity, geodiversity and sedimentary contamination along the Norwegian coast and sea areas.