Nation

NJ coast shipwreck is steamer that sank in 1860

The hulking wreck has been a regular destination for divers but a riddle to historians: What ship came to rest in 85 feet of water 10 miles off New Jersey’s coastline?

Now, federal officials have an answer.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that it has confirmed that the ship is the Robert J. Walker, an iron-hulled steamer that was doing mapping work for the US Coast Survey that sank 153 years ago after a violent collision with a 250-ton schooner.

Twenty sailors aboard the Walker died, making it the worst accident in the history of the US Coast Survey or its successor, NOAA.

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The wreck was discovered by fishermen in the 1970s but its identity was a mystery until June, when a NOAA ship made a positive identification.

The Walker could be one of the last remaining shipwrecks to be identified off the New Jersey coast.

Associated Press

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