The 500-year-old wreckage of Portuguese ship piloted by an uncle of the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama has been found off the coast of Oman. The ship is believed to be the Esmeralda, which sank in a storm off the Omani island of Al Hallaniyah in May 1503.
It was thought to be lost to the waves until an expedition, led by expert David Mearns, uncovered the wreck and its 2,800 treasures. A team of excavation, historical and scientific experts with help from the Oman’s ministry of culture spent three years searching for the ship.
David, director of Blue Water Recoveries, said he was delighted to put a date on the ship’s sinking, just five years after the first sea route from Europe to India was found. The ship was captained by Vincente Sodre, the uncle of the legendary Portuguese explorer, when it broke up in shallow waters after smashing on rocks.
David said, “This is the earliest ship from the period of European maritime exploration of Asia that has been found by a long stretch.” While very little of the ship has survived, David said the most exciting discoveries were a rare silver coin and a metal disc bearing the personal emblem of the King of Portugal.