Endurance: Perimeter place around Ernest Shackleton's ship to protect from long lost ship from damage

A 500m perimeter is being implemented to aid the protection of Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, the ship recently recovered after being famously lost in the Antarctic.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 2:32 pm

Member states of the Antarctic Treaty have already declared the wreck, which lies in 3,000m of water, a Historic Site and Monument (HSM) and have UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) to manage conservation of the site.

The plans will outline the restrictions and responsibilities that will be placed on anyone who goes near Endurance in the future – with a permit already required to visit the ship.

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A perimeter is being placed around Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance

Amanda Milling, the minister responsible for polar regions at the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) told the BBC "At present, its best protection is its location 3,000m below an ice-covered Weddell Sea.

"That may not be forever, not least due to climate change and shrinking sea-ice. That is why we have commissioned the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust to work with experts to prepare a conservation management plan, and to consider whether additional protection measures are needed.

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"We have already declared it a historic site and Antarctic Treaty members have agreed to increase the protection zone around it from 150m to 500m.

"This incredibly well-preserved ship, and its artefacts, are a part of the Shackleton legacy - they must be safeguarded so they can inspire future generations."

The Treaty parties have agreed to publish the exact coordinates of the wreck, at 68°44'21" South, 52°19'47" West.

The new 500m perimeter has been established to encompass any objects that may have separated from Endurance as it descended to the seabed.

Camilla Nichol, the CEO of UKAHT said: "As you know, tourism is growing around the Antarctic Peninsula, and people are looking for new opportunities, and new adventures, and trips into the Weddell Sea will definitely be on the cards.

"Perhaps the greatest danger going forward may be from longline fishing, or some sort of fishing activity in that area. If it's not controlled it could cause accidental damage to the wreck."

The perimeter is not permanent but may be further assessed while the condition of the vessel is fully understood.