Shipwreck found off Florida Keys identified as 18th century British frigate

A wrecked warship discovered decades ago off the Florida Keys has been identified as a British frigate that sank in the 18th century.

National Park Service archaeologists used new research to determine that the wreckage first spotted in 1993 near Dry Tortugas National Park is the HMS Tyger, the agency said.

The findings were recently published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

The HMS Tyger was a Fourth-Rate, 50-gun frigate built in 1647. It sank in 1742 after running aground on the reefs of the Dry Tortugas while on patrol in the War of Jenkins Ear between Britain and Spain.

Sunken Ship Florida
A diver identifies a ‘broad arrow’ marking on a copper barrel band (Brett Seymour/National Park Service via AP)

Archaeologists surveyed the site in 2021 and found five cannons several hundred yards from the main wreck site.

The guns were determined to be those thrown overboard when HMS Tyger first ran aground, leading archaeologists to confirm the wreck was the remains of HMS Tyger.

After the ship wrecked, about 300 crew members were marooned for more than two months on what today is Garden Key.

They erected fortifications on the island more than a century before the establishment of Fort Jefferson, which remains on the island as a historical site.

Sunken Ship Florida
Cannon balls were found on the seafloor (Brett Seymour/National Park Service via AP)

The survivors used their makeshift vessels to travel 700 miles through enemy waters to British-controlled Port Royal, Jamaica.

The remains of HMS Tyger and its related artefacts are the sovereign property of the British government in accordance with international treaties.

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