Dive company Dive Adventures donates ship artifacts

POSTED: 02/10/12 2:15 PM

St. Maarten – One of the islands oldest dive shops – Dive Adventures – has donated artifacts from the HMS Proselyte to the St. Maarten Museum on Front Street. The pieces which were handed over by the company’s manager Vinny Agosta were collected over a 15 year period and will be added to the existing exhibit that contains barrel hoops, coaks, musket balls, cannonballs, copper nails, rigging parts, pieces of wood, glass bottle fragments, uniform buttons metal and ceramics. The museum also has a model of the ship that was created by Brud Ducelle in a commission that was financed by the Dutch Representative in Philipsburg.

The divers were able to collect the artifacts because there was no legal provision preventing them from doing this. Last year’s signing of a national decree by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers designating the Man of War Shoal Marine Park as a protected area means that people can now only take pictures of the wreck, which lays on her starboard side in approximately 50 feet of water, just beyond the mouth of Great Bay at Philipsburg.

Dive Adventures donated the artifacts to encourage other businesses and residents to donate generously to the museum with any artifacts they may have sitting in attics and garages.

The HMS Proselyte was first commissioned in 1770 as a Dutch war frigate named Jason. A mutinous crew handed the ship over to the English in June, 1976. In 1801 the rechristened Proselyte struck the Man of War Shoal during a journey from St. Kitts to St. Maarten and has laid there ever since.

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