Vila Chã
Dive Type
Dive Site
What you will see
Archeological artifacts, Sea Life, Wreck
Average Depth: 30mts
Maximum Depth: 33mts
Water Temperature: 13ºC-19ºC
In the mid-90s, the search for the identity of this wreck began. Among the much information collected, correspondence was exchanged, via postal and fax, with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, and the P&O Line as there were some indications that could associate this shipwreck with what happened off Vila Chã on February 21st. of 1847. This relatively amateur investigation, conducted by Instructor Luís Mota, with the few means existing at the time (the internet was still taking its first steps), led to the discovery of such a "Tiber", English steam that sailed from Gibraltar bound for England. Despite the suspicions, and because some inconsistencies also persisted, there was never full confirmation that the shipwreck was really "Tiber".
In one of the several dives made by us in the Northern Ship in the summer of 2020, when the pair of divers Pedro Moço and Luis Osório explored the shipwreck, something semi-buried in the sand captured Pedro's attention. It was a shotgun. The artifact was recovered and sent to CNANS for restoration and study. This finding again lifted the spirits and the desire to know more about the origin and name of this boat. In this sequence, in which Pedro Moço contributed a lot, an informal team of archaeologists, historians and other technicians led by the underwater archeologist Alexandre Monteiro joined. And so, the work and mutual assistance of valid people with a single objective, the identification of the shipwreck, led to "Rollo" and its entire history.
During the process of study and investigation we verified that there is a reference to the Northern Ship as "Rolla", and not "Tiber", in the book “Villa Cham da Maya, Vila do Conde” by Amadeu Ramos dos Santos. This book, published in 2019 with a circulation of 500 copies, was not released in the community of divers. The author's sources and references are unknown to reach the conclusion about "Rollo".
The story of this finding was published in the November 2020 edition of the prestigious English magazine DIVER. In March 2021, it was also the subject of a report, this time the story of the search for the identity of this shipwreck, by the PUBLICO newspaper in its March 7, 2021 edition.
SUBMANIA thanks the collaboration of Alexandre Monteiro, his team, and, in particular, Pedro Moço, who, voluntarily, contributed to the resolution of the mystery of the identity of the "Navio do Norte" taking a huge step forward.
"Navio do Norte", or simply "Navio", is the name attributed by fishermen to this shipwreck, located off S. Paio, Vila Chã.
It is the wreck of the English barge "Rollo" which, according to the accident report written at the time, took place in the early hours of June 4, 1876. Its location and the cargo found in the wreck fit the story of the "Rollo" rigorously, however needing final confirmation.
It was a barge, a three-masted wooden sailing vessel, with a British flag, launched into the water at 7:40 am on February 17, 1868, at the E Cox shipyards in Bridport. It was baptized with the name "Rollo" by the wife of the mayor of Bridport.
It was 46.5 meters long, 9 meters wide, and 5.9 meters long. It displaced 583 tons and could carry up to 950 tons of cargo. It was owned by a large London shipowners' company, John Shepherd & Co. It was classified by Lloyds as category A1, 13 years old, with a special brand. Very well equipped and with excellent finishes, cabins in mahogany, and satin (or acacia) wood, it was considered a first-class vessel. It was intended for trade in China and Japan.
His last voyage began in Malta, from where he set sail on May 4, 1876, bound for the royal arsenal of Woolwich, district of London. In the basement, she carried, on behalf of the Admiralty Lords, 937 tonnes of obsolete war material, owned by the British government, worth 8,529 pounds. She had a crew of 16 men, including Captain William Thomas Way, and three passengers, the Captain's wife, and two children.
According to the official inquiry into the loss of the "Rollo" conducted by the British authorities, the vessel was in perfect condition when it set sail from Malta and everything went well until 23 May at 15:15, when it ran aground on a shallow sand located mile and a half from the lighthouse of Sabinal (near Almeria, Spain). With the help of the schooner Mary Ann William and the rising tide, the boat floated again. It was 8:30 pm. As soon as she started to sail, the carpenter was sent to the basement to check for possible damage, which informed him that everything would be normal and that there was no more water in the well than usual. With no apparent damage, the "Rollo" went on to England. She sailed at a speed of 4 knots an hour.
At dawn on June 4, at 3:45 am, a dark night, with no visible lights on the coast, according to testimonies the "Rollo" hit a submerged rock three times. There was an increase in the water in the well
--Spot Description by Luis Mota