Fleet sunk in the 1st Sino-Japanese war found

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An underwater archeological mission in the Yellow Sea has linked a recently discovered shipwreck to one of four warships of the Chinese Beiyang Fleet sunk by the Japanese navy during the first Sino-Japanese War 120 years ago.

'Zhiyuan' warship.[File photo]

"Zhiyuan" warship.[File photo]

Song Peiran, vice president of Dandong Port Group, said the warship was found during underwater exploration for port construction. It is located 10 nautical miles southwest of the Dandong Port.

He said the company has cooperated with the cultural department in Dandong City, northeast China's Liaoning Province, in studying the relic currently coded as "Dandong No. 1". The 50-meter hull was still intact, but the inside tanks were badly damaged.

As the weather in the north reaches freezing point, archeological work has been suspended. It has not yet been decided if or when to salvage the ship, he said.

However, archeologists have concluded the 1,600-tonne warship is likely one of the four warships with the Qing Dynasty imperial marine forces Beiyang Fleet, which was defeated by the Japanese navy in the Battle of Yellow Sea on Sept. 17, 1894.

Historic records said captain Deng Shichang, on one of the four sunken warships, refused to leave the ship "Zhiyuan", despite it being severely crippled, on fire and sinking. He has become a model of Patriotism in China over the past 100 years.

The four ships, by then, were China's most modern western vessels bought by the Chinese navy of the imperial Qing court. They were bigger and well armed with guns than the Japanese fleet, but they were slower and lacked ammunition.

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