Ship which sank 50 years ago found off the Tasmanian coast

The RV Investigator’s deep towed camera inspection of the Blythe Star shipwreck. Credit: CSIRO

On 13 October 1973, the freighter Blythe Star sank off the coast of Tasmania. Three of its 10 crew members died in the subsequent days before their rescue, and despite a massive maritime search, the ship couldn’t be found.

The CSIRO’s research vessel RV Investigator has just located the wreck.

The ship was on a University of Tasmania-led voyage to map an underwater landslide off the Tasmanian west coast.

Fishing vessels and other seafloor surveys had pointed to an unidentified wreck, about 10 kilometres west of South West Cape. Researchers on RV Investigator took a closer look at the wreck during their surveys.

When they sent down underwater cameras, the researchers could see the ‘STAR’ on the wreck’s bow. This, along with a few other identifying features, allowed them to conclude it was the Blythe Star.

The Ultramarine project – focussing on research and innovation in our marine environments – is supported by Minderoo Foundation.

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