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BSAC’s underwater study of Crimean warship will reveal historical secrets

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BSAC

BSAC divers are being given the chance to take part in a project to study the Crimean warship, SS Faith.

BSAC’s Underwater Heritage Adviser Jane Maddocks is leading the study into one of the earliest examples of naval steam power.

Chris Balcombe

Jane is hoping the project, backed by the BSAC Jubilee Trust, will unravel the secrets of SS Faith, which sunk in heavy seas in the English Channel, 12 miles south of the Isle of Wight, on December 30, 1855.

There are up to 24 places available to BSAC divers who would like to take part in the project.

SS Faith, which was built in a Birkenhead ship yard in 1852, belonged to the Turkish government and was on a delivery voyage to Constantinople when it floundered in stormy seas at the height of the Crimean War almost 160 years ago.

All of the crew were saved apart from one and the wreck now lies at 39 metres.

Jane said the SS Faith is an unusual ship and a very early example of an iron steam powered ship that was also rigged out with full sails.

She said: “It’s a fascinating wreck and I’m really looking forward to the project. She actually belonged to the Turkish government when she floundered in heavy seas and went down.

“Her bell was raised a few years ago and is in the Isle of Wight’s Shipwreck Museum. And although she lies in the English Channel, she is crucially in English waters. She was carrying a pretty ordinary cargo and on her way to Turkey when she sank.

Jane added: “She was built right on the cusp of the time when steam was replacing sail power. But because she had both, and was propeller driven, she had flexibility.

“And although primarily a cargo ship she had been used as a troop ship taking soldiers to the Crimean War which is something we want to further research.”

Jane, who is a member of a number of BSAC clubs including Gosport Sub Aqua Club and Solent Archaeological Divers, said the diving expedition to map the wreck of the SS Faith has been made possible thanks to the £2,000 BSAC Jubilee Trust grant.

She said: “It is an important and rarely visited wreck. I have a core team of around 10 archeologically trained divers but there are up to 24 places available for BSAC divers to join us for two of the dives, on Thursday, July 3rd and Friday, July 4th.

“I really want sport divers to see that they can dive on important wrecks and contribute to archaeological projects without being highly trained or qualified.

“There are so many things we want to do and need good underwater photographers for example as well as engineers who know what they are looking at when it comes to engine parts for instance.”

She added: “The wreck of the SS Faith is pretty spread out and damaged by nature and the fact she has been submerged for almost 160 years.

“BSAC divers wanting to join us and get involved need to be able to dive using nitrox and be qualified to at least Dive Leader or a Sports Diver qualified to Accelerated Decompression Procedure (ADP) level or any diver qualified to use rebreathers.

“What is more important is that we get ordinary divers involved and appreciating important wrecks, such as the SS Faith, and ensuring we learn as much as possible about them.”

Any BSAC divers wanting more information about the SS Faith project can contact Jane Maddocks by e-mail at jmaddocks25@gmail.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support

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With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.

The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.

Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.

The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.

While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”

There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.

This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.

Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.

Click here to sign the Big Shark Pledge

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Jeff chats to… Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Craig is a Key Grip and Lighting Director with 10,000s of hours of Set Experience.

In Craig’s own words:

I started my career when I was in my first year of college.  I always had that creative side of the brain that needed to be followed as a career.  I thought that would be in designing engineering pieces but wasn’t happy about the idea of an office cubicle and drafting table.

I accidentally found my way onto a big commercial job for a week and decided “THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO”.   I made it my career after that. This is a quick list of recent and big projects in my 35 yrs of TV / Film / Photography.

Most Recently:

  • “Black Panther 2” – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • “Stranger Things” Season 4 – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • “Suicide Squad 2” – UW Gaffer / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • NASCAR / FOX Sports 1 – Network TV Lighting Director – 7 years / 700 races of Live BIG track TV shows
  • 10,000s of commercials / music videos / tv shows

I started diving when I was 18 years old with my OW and then AOW with PADI. I was diving with lots of friends in the late 80s and early 90s and then moved onto Kayaking. I got my daughter into diving when she turned 14 and have picked up where I left off.

I have approx 5000 dives now and spend most of my free time diving.

Here are my certs:

  • OW – AOW 1989
  • Adv Nitrox / Deco 2020
  • Cavern – Intro Cave 2021
  • CCR Tech – Fathom – 2021

You can find out more at www.craigwaller.com


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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