Teams dive to great depths to bring back lost relics
Experts with Chinese salvage teams in the South China Sea say they are working hard to protect treasure and cultural relics buried beneath the waves.
“We’ve successfully raised the Nanhai-1 intact out of the water, and we’re confident we can salvage other similar ships,” said Hong Chong, director of the Guangzhou Salvage Bureau.
The bureau has conducted more than 160 successful emergency salvage missions since it was founded in 2003, most of them in the South China Sea.
Hong said that more than 800 ancient vessels lie at the bottom of the sea, although other experts suggest the number could be in excess of 1,000. The sea was an important part of the so- called Marine Silk Road, China’s southern passage to the outside world in ancient times.
In 2007, Guangzhou Salvage Bureau salvaged the Nanhai-1, a 30.4-meter-long trade vessel built during the Song Dynasty (AD 9601279) that sank about 800 years ago. It had been carrying a cargo of porcelain, gold, jewels and other artifacts.
One of the oldest sunken wrecks found intact in the world, the vessel is now preserved in a sealed pool at a museum in Yangjiang, Guangdong province.