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These divers helped secure the shipwreck off Cape Ray — and got a look up close

Trevor Croft, left and Shawn Bath of the Clean Harbour Initiative helped secure the shipwreck found at Cape Ray. In this photo, Bath is holding a copper pipe that was taken from the vessel. (Submitted by Trevor Croft - image credit)
Trevor Croft, left and Shawn Bath of the Clean Harbour Initiative helped secure the shipwreck found at Cape Ray. In this photo, Bath is holding a copper pipe that was taken from the vessel. (Submitted by Trevor Croft - image credit)
Trevor Croft, left and Shawn Bath of the Clean Harbour Initiative helped secure the shipwreck found at Cape Ray. In this photo, Bath is holding a copper pipe that was taken from the vessel.
Trevor Croft, left and Shawn Bath of the Clean Harbour Initiative helped secure the shipwreck found at Cape Ray. In this photo, Bath is holding a copper pipe that was taken from the vessel.

Trevor Croft, left, and Shawn Bath of the Clean Harbour Initiative helped secure the shipwreck found at Cape Ray. In this photo, Bath is holding a copper pipe that was taken from the vessel. (Submitted by Trevor Croft)

The divers of Newfoundland's Clean Harbour Initiative are usually pulling trash from the ocean, but they recently got to help secure an ancient shipwreck found near Cape Ray — which could help shed light on the mystery of where it came from.

The ragged, overturned hull emerged last week off of Cape Ray, on the shore of J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park.

Residents have quickly sprung into action to find ways to secure the vessel in the water so they can keep it in place and learn more about it. That's when the Clean Harbour Initiative, who were working in nearby Port aux Basques, got involved.

"It's pretty amazing," manager Trevor Croft told CBC Radio Friday.

"Seeing those massive timbers up close was also fairly exciting. Those wooden dowels, just the sheer size of some of those planks on the vessel was astounding."

Croft estimates the vessel is about 30 metres long and nine or 10 metres wide. It's laying upside down on the ocean floor, he added, and has copper and brass spikes sticking out of the ship's keel.

"Before we got the opportunity to secure it, it moved a couple of hundred feet," he said.

"We put that big strap around the keel and tied ropes through that strap, and to some railway track that was sticking through the sand.… It's literally the perfect place for that vessel to wash up. You could literally drive right to it."

The massive, overturned hull of a seemingly ancient ship has appeared without warning along Newfoundland's southwestern tip as shown in this handout image provided by Corey Purchase. Wanda Blackmore says her 21-year-old son, Gordon, came roaring into her house last Saturday morning after spotting the long shadow beneath the water just off the beach in Cape Ray, N.L.

Croft says the shipwreck, seen here from overhead, is about 30 metres long and nine or 10 metres wide. (Corey Purchase/The Canadian Press)

Croft said it's tough to tell how old the boat is, but said the vessel looks to be made of solid oak that is covered in a substance to waterproof it.

Members of the provincial government's archeology office are planning to visit the shipwreck on Saturday, according to a news release, where they'll take pictures, videos and collect samples of the ship's wood core.

The release said it's too early to speculate if the ship is historically significant, or where it could have originated from.

Croft hopes something can be done to preserve the vessel, saying it could serve a tourism attraction for Cape Ray.

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