Descending in a Russian MIR submersible to 5025 metres depth in the South Atlantic Ocean
I have spent a great deal of my life doing things connected with the sea.
I have been a sport diver and qualified scuba instructor, and have owned and operated several businesses connected with marine activities, both in the UK and overseas.
For about fifteen years I worked as an independent professional researcher, specialising in maritime history, particularly shipwrecks. In that capacity, I researched ships and shipwrecks for a number of authors, museum groups, underwater archaeologists and commercial salvage teams, including those looking for what we would call 'treasure'.
As part of my research career, I took part in an expedition to find two sunken WW2 vessels in the South Atlantic Ocean.
During this trip I visited the seabed in a MIR submersible to a depth of 5025 metres.
The story of this expedition is told in James Hamilton-Paterson's book entitled Three Miles Down.
There is an ongoing international debate about whether commercial interests should be permitted to look for and profit from the retrieval of high value shipwreck cargoes, especially when the shipwrecks themselves are deemed to be of historic value. This debate has become even more intense now that technological advances have put almost every sunken vessel within reach.
My personal view is that the main treasure to be had is the increase in our knowledge of these ships and their history. Whatever else happens, it is really important to record and document what is found and to preserve knowledge.
My interest in East India Company ships goes back to my early days as a diver, when I literally bumped into a lot of them underwater, and so I thought it would be a good idea to put information about these amazing ships and seafarers online for others to enjoy as much as I have.