American Civil War Blockade Runner Now Open To Divers

Civil War Era blockade runner

The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology has opened up the wreck of the Civil War blockade runner Condor to scuba divers and snorkelers, according to the Daily Express.

The shipwreck was designated a state heritage site and is now free to access. The vessel, which measures 67m/220ft, lies in shallow water 640 meters/700 yards off the beach at Fort Fisher, in North Carolina.

The Condor, which was built in Greenock, Scotland, was lost on her maiden voyage in 1864. The ship was chased by a Union gunboat, the USS Niphon, and ran aground. Although anything of value has been stripped from the wreck, the ship itself remains intact, and gives a very interesting insight into the life of blockade runners.

According to the archaeological dive supervisor for the North Carolina Department for Natural and Cultural Resources, Greg Stratton:

“The bow is still attached to the wreck along with her sternpost and rudder.”

He added:

“In between are outer hull plating, intact I-beam frames, the water tank, ‘beehive’ boilers, both engines, paddle wheel shafts, paddle wheel hubs, keelson and too many pieces of structure to mention.”

The wreck was first mapped in 1994 and is now marked with a buoy to make it easier to locate. In addition, to help divers explore the wreck and build up a complete and accurate picture of the site, the department has placed a travel line to the wreck, which should remain in place until November. The Condor is only one of the more than 5,000 documented wrecks lying off the North Carolina coast.

Check out the full Daily Express report here.

Map of the Condor wreck