CFCC students help recover two cannons from Blackbeard’s shipwreck

Students and crew on board the Cape Fear Community College marine technology research vessel the Dan Moore lift a 2,000 pound cannon from the surface of the ocean during a June 20 recovery operation off the coast of Atlantic Beach, NC.

Students and crew on board the Cape Fear Community College marine technology research vessel the Dan Moore lift a 2,000 pound cannon from the surface of the ocean during a June 20 recovery operation off the coast of Atlantic Beach, NC.

On June 20, Cape Fear Community College students helped a team of archaeologists recover two 300-year old cannons from the shipwreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge off the coast of Atlantic Beach, NC. The Queen Anne’s Revenge is believed to be the flagship of Blackbeard the Pirate. The special operation was part of a five-day student training voyage off the coast of North Carolina for students in CFCC’s marine technology program.

It took six hours to complete the operation and required close coordination between underwater divers and the students and crew on board CFCC’s research vessel the R/V Dan Moore.

After underwater divers raised the cannons near the surface of the water from the ocean floor with the help of a large inflatable bag, CFCC crew and students lifted the weapons from the water by crane and carefully guided into them into place on board the ship. The artifacts are estimated at 2,000 pounds each.

Since the shipwreck was discovered in 1996, CFCC has been an essential part of the Queen Anne’s Revenge recovery project because of the capabilities of the R/V Dan Moore.

“Cape Fear Community College has been a central part of this since the beginning,” said John “Billy Ray” Morris, deputy state archaeologist and head of the underwater archaeology branch.

“We have no in-house lifting capabilities. And with a vessel that’s supporting four heavy anchors and at least 27 guns, recovering heavy artifacts is a huge part of the overall recovery process,” Morris said.

For CFCC’s marine technology students, getting the chance to take part in the recovery effort was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It’s exciting. You have something that’s been on the bottom of the ocean for about 300 years and we get to assist in bringing it up. I love to be a part of that,” said Matt Williamson, a CFCC marine technology student.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground in 1718. The shipwreck was located off the coast of Atlantic Beach and is the second-oldest shipwreck in North Carolina. There are still 13 additional cannons and other artifacts at the shipwreck of Queen Anne’s Revenge crews will recover at another time.

The project was also significant to the college for another reason. This operation marked the 419th and final scheduled trip for the Dan Moore, which is being retired from service as a training vessel at the college. CFCC’s new training vessel, the R/V Cape Hatteras, will replace the Dan Moore and is expected to begin it’s student voyages later this year.

Based on Wilmington, N.C., CFCC’s marine technology program is one of the only job training programs of its kind in the country. Over the course of two years, students learn skills to work in a wide range of jobs in the offshore industry. The most recent graduate placement rate is 94% with average salaries starting at $48,000/year.

 

PHOTO GALLERY: Cape Fear Community College Queen Anne’s Revenge trip 2013