rotated shipwreck for banner courtesy equinor
Image Courtesy Equinor
In the News

Mystery shipwreck discovered by offshore oil and gas exploration team

Seabed survey in the Flemish Pass Basin offshore from Newfoundland reveals possible WW II ship about 1,200 metres under water.

As part of Equinor Canada’s ongoing undersea investigation of the Flemish Pass Basin about 500 kilometres offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, survey contractor Fugro has found a shipwreck that may date from World War II.  

The ship appears to have broken apart on impact with the sea floor. The wreck is about 80 metres long and 20 metres wide, resting some 1,200 metres below the ocean surface.

sonar image of a sunken ship courtesy equinor
Sonar imagery of a sunken ship discovered in the Flemish Pass Basin as part of a geographical seabed survey. (Photo courtesy of Equinor)

The wreck was discovered on July 13 while Fugro was conducting a seabed geophysical investigation using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which is designed to capture various characteristics of the sea floor in deep water. The survey was being conducted on behalf of Equinor as part of its early-stage activities to better understand the sea floor environment and geotechnical aspects of the Flemish Pass Basin. These operations, which included a seabed survey, an environmental survey and a soils investigation of the area, began in July and are expected to conclude in August.

Equinor is operator of seven discoveries offshore Newfoundland in the Flemish Pass Basin, including the Bay du Nord discovery. Work is ongoing to assess options for developing the Bay du Nord project, which consists of the three light oil discoveries in the Flemish Pass Basin. The project area’s recoverable reserves are estimated to be about 300 million barrels of oil.

Equinor has shared the data and images with the Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Shipwreck Preservation Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is part of a team that will be researching the ship’s identity. Although the wreck remains unidentified, some experts believe it could date from the 1940s.