turkce links to original Turkish article
(Hurriyet Newspaper, 5 February 2015)
"Mefruk Ertugrul Firkateyni" (Sunken Ertugrul Frigate)
Divers working to salvage artifacts from the wreck of the
Ottoman frigate Ertuğrul in the Pacific Ocean have discovered
coins from the boat’s safe on the bottom of the ocean, but
worries remain that more effects from the ship will be destroyed
with the passage of time.
“We found it strange that there were no Ottoman coins in the
area while there were many British, Japanese and Hong Kong
coins,” said the head of the project to salvage parts of the ship,
Tufan Turanlı. “But then I thought that it was normal because even
today, when people go abroad, they have the currency of the
country they visit or a more acceptable currency, not the currency
of their own country. At the end of the 19th century, British gold
was popular. Naturally, the Ottomans had British currency as well
as the currencies of Japan and Hong Kong, where they will visit.”
Ottoman coins have been found on previous expeditions on the
The frigate was sent by the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II to give
gifts to the Japanese emperor, but it encountered a typhoon off the
coast of Wakayama Prefecture and sank on Sept. 16, 1890. The
accident resulted in the loss of 533 sailors.
Site of the 1890 shipwreck of the Ottoman Ertugrul frigate.
The coins have been delivered to officials at the Turkish Museum
in Kushimoto in Japan for display. Other works are continuing
underwater to find the safe from which the coins came.
Excavations started on the frigate in the Pacific Ocean six years
ago. Works started once again on Jan. 19 with a team including
eight Japanese divers, a Spanish archaeologist and U.S. scientists
under the leadership of Turanlı.
Within the scope of the project, sponsored by the Mersin Naval
Trade Chamber and Turkish Airlines, excavation works have been
carried out 100 meters off the coast under waters reaching a
depth of 20 to 40 meters.
The gold, silver and bronze coins were found in a cave 20 meters
deep. At the same time, 264 pieces from the frigate, as well as the
personal effects of some of the sailors were brought to light during
the works, according to officials.
Work to conserve and restore them are continuing at the Ertuğrul
Research Center, while the new artifacts will be displayed at the
Turkish Museum in Kushimoto alongside previously discovered
The expedition is focused on a cave area where the remains of
the Ertuğrul are relatively well-protected, said Turanlı.
“The pieces that were found in the same area between 2008 and
2010 were very well-protected from storms and typhoons in the
region. The other pieces lying in waters 12 to 17 meters deep are
suffering damage from typhoons. The remains and materials of the
frigate perish every other day. As they perish, the memories of
those that died on the Ertuğrul perish, too. We have salvaged 7,550
artifacts since we started the project in 2007 and are working to
conserve them,” said Turanlı.
Hopes of finding ship’s safe
Turanlı said that in the region where they found the coins, they also
found valuable silver Meiji Yen from the year 1889, attracting the
attention of researchers and Japanese experts.
Turanlı said the key to the safe that they had found was strong.
“An expert told us that it was made of the strongest materials. We
found the coins in this cave; this is why we think that the safe of the
frigate is around here. I am excited thinking that we might find the
safe of the Ertuğrul. What makes me excited is not to find more
coins but safes are used to protect valuable things. Maybe we can
find things and documents belonging to the sailors. We are
continuing work underwater and in the research center,” he said.
'Tis a long, long way from Turkey to Japan.