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Mark Milburn’s Cornish Wreck Ramblings, Part 5: The Trouble with Trawlers

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During both the Great War and World War two, fishing trawlers, drifters and whalers were used as mine sweepers or ancillary vessels. During both wars, hundreds were put into service and many were lost. Falmouth Bay had it’s fair share. During the Great War, there were two trawlers that were lost, one due to hitting a mine, the other was lost after a collision.

On the 21st December 1916, the HMT St Ives struck a mine 2 miles WSW off St Anthony’s lighthouse, with the loss of all ten crew. The St Ives has never been found. On a dive in the area suggested by the naval report, I did find a dozen large cast iron blocks. After researching what they might be, we discarded ballast weights and cargo. As ballast, they would need to be movable, these iron blocks were roughly one ton each, not movable by the crew. As cargo, a dozen blocks weighing a ton each, wasn’t worth much, certainly not worth hiring a boat to transport them. More research into the actual vessel construction, found they could have been bow trim weights, to counteract the weight of the engine and boilers at the rear. This would be almost impossible to prove, without spending a lot of time hunting the area and still not finding any other items as proof.

HMT St Ives

The FV Tulip II collided with another vessel on 23rd August 1918, 3 miles WNW off St Anthony. There is little information available about what happened, or whether there were any casualties. The wreck has never been found. We do have a possible target area, a debris field spotted by an Olex system, half a mile from the collision location.

During WWII, there were five trawlers lost in the Falmouth area. The most confusing of these are the Sevra and AN2, it turns out they were sunk a hundred metres apart, two days apart. They both hit mines and the wreckage possibly ended up being mixed up. The Rinovia sank after hitting a mine too, it has become a popular deeper dive, lying around 50m. Lord Snowden sank in deep water after a collision with a Glasgow steamer, the Felspar. The Lord Snowden does get dived but is quite deep. The Almond hit a mine and sank in deep water in 1941, the bow and stern now lie around 200m apart. The Almond is rarely dived as it is quite deep and the two parts are so far apart.

So, in the main, the WWII trawler wrecks are in known locations. The wrecks from the Great War, are not. The trouble with the information we have is even more confusing, once we add in a discussion with a now ex diver. Within the bay there is a large oil tanker from WWII, the Caroni Rivers. Within the Caroni Rivers are the remains of a small steam vessel, thought to be a steam trawler, it could be any trawler.

The ex diver stated that in 1966, he was part of a group of divers, that removed a bronze deck gun from the trawler within the Caroni Rivers. Trawlers were not armed, except during the wars. The Caroni Rivers is around 1.5 miles from the last recorded positions of the St Ives and the Tulip II, around half way between them. There are no other trawlers missing, so what is the trawler within the Caroni Rivers? It has to be the St Ives or the Tulip II. The St Ives blew to pieces, so it is unlikely to be that. That leaves the Tulip II as the only possibility. One of the reasons I feel cautious about the Tulip II is not just the distance but the direction. Knowing the area, it is highly unlikely for the Tulip II to be blown in that direction. There is always the possibility that it tried to make it back to port, but without any confirmation of that it will remain a mystery.

Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba at www.atlanticscuba.co.uk

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting www.atlanticscuba.co.uk.

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February

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There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit www.fishfreefebruary.com

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Competitions

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Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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