Century-old shipwreck found in Bay Area

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Century-Old Shipwreck Found In Bay Area


The first modern images of San Francisco's deadliest shipwreck were released this week.

Known as "the Titanic of the Golden Gate," the SS City of Rio de Janeiro sank in 1901 and more than half of the 210 passengers and crew members died in the tragedy. The ship was carrying mostly Chinese and Japanese immigrants.

Both the captain and pilot were found guilty of gross negligence.

Now, more than a century later scientists located where it landed on the ocean bed. The find was part of a two-year study to discover and document shipwrecks around the area.

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Titanic of the bay SS city of rio de janeiro
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Century-old shipwreck found in Bay Area

SS City of Rio de Janeiro built by John Roach & Son in 1878 at Chester, Penn. regularly transported passengers and cargo between Asia and San Francisco, photo taken at Nagasaki, Japan, 1894.

Credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park safr_21374_h06-04135_n

CodaOctopus 3-D Echoscope sonar downward view of the SS City of Rio De Janeiro.

Credit: Coda Octopus/NOAA

CodaOctopus 3-D Echoscope sonar images of the SS City of Rio De Janeiro.

Credit: Coda Octopus/NOAA

Captain William Ward, master of the SS City of Rio de Janeiro at the time of the loss.

Credit: Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library

Entrance to San Francisco Hydrographic Chart 5581 (cropped) U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey 1901

Credit: NOAA U.S. Office of Coast Survey

Present day photo at the entrance of the Golden Gate looking westward with Fort Point at the far left where the SS City of Rio de Janeirostruck the rocks and foundered on February 22, 1901.

Photo: Robert V. Schwemmer NOAA

Recovered life ring from the wreck of the SSCity of Rio de Janeiro.

Credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Five officers on board the SS City of Rio de Janeiro. Standing left to right, Joseph Matthews, Chief Engineer, O. K. Freeman, Purser, Harry Kirulff, Surgeon, Caterinich, First Officer, center with dog, J. Tremain Smith, Captain.

Credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park safr_21374_j09-30981_nl

Hundreds of shipwrecks including the SS City of Rio de Janeiro have occurred at the entrance to the Golden Gate and offshore waters now managed by the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, as recorded by George Davidson of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.


 

Credit: NOAA Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Multibeam sonar image at San Francisco's Golden Gate highlighting the shipwrecks City of Rio de JaneiroCity of Chester and Fernstream.

Credit: Gary Fabian for NOAA

Survivors from SS City of Rio de Janeiro after the sinking at Baker's Beach.

Credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park safr_21374_a11-14617_p

Survivors from SS City of Rio de Janeiro after the sinking at Baker's Beach.

Credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park safr_21374_a11-14617_p

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Survivors from SS City of Rio de Janeiro after the sinking at Baker's Beach.

Credit: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park safr_21374_a11-14617_p

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On July 22, 1898, "A thousand Boys in Blue S.S.[City of] Rio de Janeiro bound for Manila." During the Spanish American War, the U.S. Government charted Pacific Mail Steamship Company steamships as troopships.

Credit: Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took these 3D and sonar images of what was once the Bay Area's biggest maritime mysteries.

Director of maritime heritage for the NOAA explained the recent discovery in the San Francisco bay will help "...to learn more about its maritime heritage as well as to test recent advances in technology that will allow us to better protect and understand the rich stories found beneath the Bay's waters."

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