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Scientific team to dive at site of 1922 British naval shipwreck off Labrador

Wreckage of the HMS Raleigh is shown in a handout screengrab.
Wreckage of the HMS Raleigh is shown in a handout screengrab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Chris Harvey Clark MANDATORY CREDIT

A Dalhousie University professor is preparing an expedition to dive on the wreck of a British naval vessel that ran aground in southern Labrador 97 years ago.

The light cruiser HMS Raleigh hit rocks below the Point Amour lighthouse on Aug. 8, 1922 with the loss of 11 crew members, and was eventually blown up at the site by the British navy in 1926.

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Chris Harvey-Clark, a marine biologist and veterinarian, first dove to document the remnants of the wreck in 2012.

This time, his four-person team will attempt to complete a mapping of the site while sampling marine plants and shellfish in the area for residues of explosives.

Harvey-Clark says while previous work at the site by the Canadian military has removed some of the ship’s massive shells, others remain in the area.

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He says the wreck site is roughly the size of two football fields, and it is constantly battered by strong currents, rough seas and even icebergs.

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Harvey-Clark says his team hopes to dive once or twice a day over a two-week period beginning this weekend.