A rum do: dive team celebrates discovery of Captain Morgan's ship


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Marine archaeologists believe they have found the wreck of Captain Henry Morgan's sunken flagship after uncovering a large section of hull.

The Satisfaction was lost along with four other ships in rough water and dangerous reefs as he assaulted and captured Panama City in 1671. He and his forces reputedly made off with 400,000 pieces of eight but the buccaneer left behind his flagship resting on the Lajas Reef. The section of wooden hull is the right age and design to be from The Satisfaction and is thought to be a piece from the starboard side.

Its discovery comes five months after six cannons were recovered by the marine archaeology team from Texas State University in the US.

Fritz Hanselmann, the university's chief underwater archaeologist, is leading the hunt for the remains of the privateer's ship. Unopened chests have reportedly been seen amid the wreckage but he said: "To us, the ship is the treasure – the story is the treasure. You don't have a much better story than Captain Morgan's sack of Panama City and the loss of his five ships."

Morgan, thought to have originally come from Wales, raided Panama City as part of a campaign to challenge Spanish rule in the Caribbean and Central America. He was licensed to sail as a privateer by the British authorities, though he was regarded as a pirate by the Spanish. He was knighted by King Charles II on his return to London in 1674.

The project to uncover The Satisfaction ran out of funding earlier this year but was able to continue after the rum company Captain Morgan stepped in.

Artifacts recovered during the operation are owned by the Panamanian government.