What was found lying on the seabed during preparations to lay a cable for an offshore wind farm?

The ship�s bell of the SS Carica Miller, sunk by a German mine in 1939 and recovered from the Gallo

The ship�s bell of the SS Carica Miller, sunk by a German mine in 1939 and recovered from the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm�s offshore cable route during excavation work. - Credit: INNOGY

The bell of a ship sunk off the Suffolk coast by a German mine is to go on public display.

It belonged to the SS Carica Miller, a merchant ship carrying coal that went down in 1939, although all 26 of its crew survived.

The bell was found during examination work of the seabed to install the cable route for the Galloper offshore wind farm at Sizewell.

Thorough geophysical surveys of the seabed along the wind farm’s 45 kilometre long offshore cable route were undertaken before construction could begin.

The results of these surveys, from the offshore site to the landfall at Sizewell, Suffolk, were examined by marine geophysicists and archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology to identify anomalies that could have impacted the

construction works for the 353MW wind farm.

Galloper Senior Consents Manager Colin McAllister explained that these anomalies were assessed further to find out what they were - “for instance whether they were archaeological remains, unexploded ordnance or even lost fishing gear,” he said.

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“A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was then used to carry out this ‘ground-truthing’ exercise and the ship’s bell was discovered on the seabed during a survey undertaken in June 2016.”

It was agreed with Historic England that it would be recovered from the seabed for conservation and has been restored by Wessex Archaeology.

The bell will now go on permanent display at the Maritime Heritage Visitor Centre in Sunderland, where the ship was built in 1928.

Secretary of Sunderland Maritime Heritage Ian Murray said: “It is an honour and a privilege that Galloper Wind Farm and Wessex Archaeology chose Sunderland Maritime Heritage as the final home for the bell.

“We will ensure the bell, which has been so expertly conserved, will have pride of place in its display case within our visitor centre.”