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The Norrland wreck is Annie from 1877

While taking depth sounding measurements outside Umeå at the end of September this year, the Swedish Maritime Administration found an exceptionally preserved ship at a depth of about 35 metres. The shipwreck outside Holmsund has now been identified. Sport divers who had dived at the site confirmed that it was the English cargo steamer Annie, which sank in 1891.

“As soon as we heard about a big unknown wreck – one that was intact, too – we were of course determined to look for it,” exclaims diver Mikael Rönnkvist.

Together with Simon Kenttä, another seasoned shipwreck hunter, they were able to dive down and examine the well-preserved steamship after doing some detective work.

They immediately saw the ship’s name both on the ship clock and on the steering wheel, where “1877” and “London” were also inscribed. Ships often change names, but when the archival information also matched they knew it was really Annie.

“She’s like a 150-year-old museum that’s been closed for the last 130 years,” Rönnkvist explains.

“All the stuff is still there and because of the brackish water, all the wood is nicely preserved. It’s unusual to find well-preserved wrecks along Norrland’s coast. The sea isn’t that deep there, so the ice presses on any wrecks and destroys them.”

A steamer headed for England

The British steamer Annie had been loaded with wood in Sävenäs, outside Skellefteå, and was en route to Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire, England. On board were 18 crew members and commander William Walter Burn.  Built in 1877 in Sunderland, Annie was just over 70 metres long and owned by Fredrick Gordon and Co.

Sloppy navigation

Due to carelessness and shaky navigation, the ship ran aground east of Ängesön, outside Umeå. Annie suffered bottom damage that caused her to take in water. A salvage steamer started towing her, but the damage was too great and Annie sank. The crew was rescued.

In the English note of protest, the captain and his chief mate were judged to have acted unprofessionally and were suspended from duty for six months as punishment.