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Wreckage of old British ship S.S. Sobraon found

TAIPEI -- Reports dating back more than a century that a British ship sank near Tungyin Island in 1901 were confirmed recently after divers found its wreckage and salvaged some objects from it, the United Daily News reported Sunday.

The paper cited divers from the Taiwan Ocean Security Conserve Association as saying that the dozen objects they obtained from a wreckage off Tungyin Island on June 24 had been confirmed as coming from the British ship S.S. Sobraon.

The discovery culminated a six-month underwater search conducted by the association at the request of inhabitants of the Taiwan-held island, which is 100 nautical miles northwest of Taiwan's northern port city of Keelung, in Liangchiang County.

The underwater search could only be carried out between June and September when the sea was relatively calm.

The wreckage was found about 30 meters below the surface but because there was little natural light, the divers needed to use flashlights to find their way, the paper cited association president Lin Cheng-yang as saying.

According to historical records, S.S. Sobraon was a passenger ship built in Scotland in 1900, with a displacement of 7,382 tons.

It ran aground on Tungyin Island on June 24, 1901 and was then abandoned by the crew. No lives were lost.

One year after the accident, the British government financed the building of a lighthouse on the island, which still exists today.

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