Possibly British Banco Chinchorro Wreck Found by Mexican Fisherman

mexico new shipwreck title 1000

The canon is one of the only pieces of the new wreck that remains ( Photo: Laura Carrillo Márquez/INAH)

Maritime archaeologists in Mexico have announced the discovery of a shipwreck at Banco Chinchorro, a reef located some 35km (22 miles) from the eastern coast of Quintana Roo state in the Yucatán peninsula, close to Mexico's border with Belize. The ship is thought to be British and at least 200 years old.

The wreck was originally found in the late 1990s by a local fisherman named Manuel Polanco, who named it 'El Inglés' (The English), but has only been properly explored by divers from Mexico's National Archaeological Institute (INAH) in the last few months. Polanco had previously discovered a number of other wrecks around the atoll, including the famous '40 Cañones' (40 Cannon). The new wreck has been renamed the Manuel Polanco in his honour.

moving ebook gif 2

Download our FREE gift Around the World in 80 Wrecks - a 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks - plus Wonders of the Pacific and readers' favourite Scuba Stories

mexico new shipwreck anchor 1000

The Admiralty Pattern anchor is hooked into the reef in what might have been a last-ditch attempt to save the ship (Photo: Laura Carrillo Márquez/INAH)

Banco Chinchorro atoll is the largest coral atoll in the northern hemisphere and, located on a major historical trade route between Colombia and Spain via Havana, Cuba, many ships have foundered on its shallow reefs, leading to it being called the 'Dreamcatcher', 'Sleep Depriver', and 'Nightmare Reef'. The wreck of the Manuel Polanco is the 70th to be discovered, although so far only 9 have been formally identified, including two Spanish galleons. The reef has been named an underwater heritage site as a result.

The new wreck lies in only a few metres of water and, over the course of the last two centuries, its wooden hull has rotted away, leaving behind a 2.5m-long (8ft) cannon, iron ingots that were probably used for ballast, and a large anchor. The anchor is of a design known as the Admiralty Pattern, leading to speculation that the wreck might be British, in accordance with its previous name. Due to its location, it is thought that the anchor was deployed in an attempt to halt the ship's progress onto the reef, but apparently too late.

So far just two dives were carried out over the new wreck, which, although shallow, lies exposed to the powerful currents of the open ocean. Further investigation of the wreck has been halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, archaeologists are planning to return as soon as restrictions are lifted.


digital dive gif





Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection f real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

New Upright Gift Banners 300 x 600 px

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE spring 21 large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar philippines sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena 2020 Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize sidebar banner south africa

DIVE Partners

sidebar banner egypt new ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below

PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...