- 2004/07/20 Eleven shipwreck sites identified

Eleven shipwreck sites have been identified in several areas of Melaka coast and works to salvage whatever remains from these ships, mostly cargo and war ships, are expected to begin sometime next month.
The ships, which were said to have sunk between 1606 and 1784, belonged to the Portuguese and Dutch.

Among the areas identified include the areas off Tanjung Kling, Tanjung Tuan and Permatang Rumput.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the salvage works will be carried out through a cooperation between the State Government and Melaka Museum Board (Perzim) and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).

He said based on the historical facts compiled by Perzim, 11 sites have been identified and works will be concentrated in these areas.

"This cooperation will entail efforts to detect whatever valuables in these ships apart from using them as reference for everyone, including countries from all over the world.

"This exercise is expected to take several months, where we will utilise the expertise of the RMN's divers. The cost of this project is not that high as we do not have to engage foreign experts," he said after inspecting the identified sites today.

Among those present included State Tourism and Heritage committee chairman Datuk Wira Amid Nordin and Perzim's general manager Dr Badriyah Salleh.

Among the ships which had been identified included the Middelburg (which sank in 1606), Franecker (1636), Wieringen (1642), Bambeeck (1702) and Overduin (1784).

The waters of the coast of Melaka is said to be laden with shipwrecks, many were said to be carrying valuables when they went to their watery graves.

Perhaps the most sought-after wreck is that of the Flor de la Mar, the galleon which was said to be transporting treasures looted from Melaka when it went down.

The excitement over the works came barely days after a RMN team discovered several porcelain, which dated back to the 18th century, from a shipwreck off Limbongan.

Although initially the team believe the find was from either a Portuguese or Dutch vessel, subsequent sonar scan showed that the ship measured about 200 meters long, which puts it to be in the same configuration as a Chinese junk.

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