Possibly British Banco Chinchorro Wreck Found by Mexican Fisherman
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.
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.