News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is aware of significant damage to the side paddle steamer and blockade runner shipwreck the Montana ( 1863 ) following Hurricane Humberto.
The full extent of the damage has not yet been fully assessed, however monitoring of the area is ongoing and there will be an extensive assessment of the site that will be shared with the public in due course.
Custodian Of Historic Wrecks, Phillipe Rouja PhD said, “The Montana has had extensive and incredibly detailed high-resolution imagery data sets produced of the site prior to Hurricane Humberto. I, along with the marine conservation section at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be working in partnership with Professor Falko J Kuester’s team at University of California San Diego’s Virtual Engineering lab (the lead international partner in this digitization effort), and local dive partners to document the site for impacts to both its human and natural heritage, post Hurricane Humberto.”
The public is reminded that under the Historic Wrecks Act 2001, it is illegal to interfere with or remove anything from an historic shipwreck without a licence.
The Montana is more than 150 years old, and is home to an extensive and rich coral community. The Montana has also been heralded as an iconic and internationally renowned shipwreck site that is a significant part of Bermuda’s maritime cultural heritage. The site is an extremely popular recreational area with daily visits from tour boats and dive operators throughout the high tourist season with five visits per day by commercial boats. Thousands of people have visited the site and millions have seen it online and through multiple international documentaries. The Montana is one of two shipwrecks at the western blue cut site – the other is the Constellation 1943. This unique assemblage with wrecks one on top of the other was the inspiration for Peter Benchley’s book and film, The Deep.
3D shipwreck models can be viewed here – http://bermuda100.ucsd.edu/montana/index.php