US and Australia at Odds Over Quest for Captain James Cook's Shipwreck

© Wikipedia / Nathaniel Dance-Holland Official portrait of Captain James Cook
Official portrait of Captain James Cook - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2022
HMS Endeavour was a British Royal Navy research vessel captained by James Cook on his first historic voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand between 1768 and 1771. The ship was scuttled in August 1778 in Newport Harbour in the US during the American War of Independence.
The 22-year-long partnership between maritime archaeologists from the US and Australia has turned into a row after Australian researchers on Thursday announced the discovery of explorer Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour shipwreck after almost 250 years.
The Australian Maritime Museum's chief executive, Kevin Sumption, announced at a media briefing on Thursday that he was convinced a shipwreck in waters off Rhode Island in America was “the final resting place of one of the most important and contentious vessels in Australia’s maritime history”.

"Since 1999, we've been investigating several 18th-century shipwrecks in a two-square-mile area where we believed Endeavour was sunk. Based on archival and archaeological evidence, I'm convinced it's the Endeavour," Kevin Sumption, director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, said.

Twitter/screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2022
Miffed by the announcement, the project's executive director Kathy Abbass of the US partner organisation, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), issued a statement and said that Sumption had made a “premature” announcement as it was too early to draw a conclusion.
Moreover, Sumption's claim that the Endeavour had been identified was a "breach of contract" adding that "conclusions will be driven by proper scientific process and not Australian emotions or politics".
Twitter/screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2022
The Australian Maritime Museum refuted Abbass' allegations and said that Sumption's announcement was not in breach of any commitment as he was “confident” that he had discovered the Endeavour shipwreck.
A spokesman for the Australian museum said Abbass was "entitled to her own opinion regarding the vast amount of evidence we have accumulated".
During his briefing, Sumption paid tribute to RIMAP and its head, Abbass, for their “commitment to the site and its history”.
But Abbass said RIMAP was the lead organisation for the study and that although the shipwreck was consistent with “what might be expected of the Endeavour”, there was no “indisputable data” to prove it.
“There are many unanswered questions that could overturn such an identification,” she said in a statement.
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