Search for Blackbeard's Ship Continues Without Money from Lawmakers
Posted July 25, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
BEAUFORT — The search for Blackbeard's ship will continue off the coast of North Carolina but without any help from lawmakers this year.
Everyone knew it was going to be a tight budget year, but not everyone realized just how tight. The Division of Cultural Resources got no money to help scientists recover what is thought to be the Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of North Carolina.
Despite the setback, organizers of the project say divers will be in the water this fall as planned.
The ocean floor holds clues to North Carolina's rich maritime history, but it takes more than divers to uncover those mysteries. It takes money.
"Cultural things have always had to fight for their money," said Betty McCain, secretary of Cultural Resources.
The Division of Cultural Resources asked theGeneral Assemblyfor $250,000 to fund the next phase of excavating what is thought to be the Queen Anne's Revenge. They did not get it.
"We will find the money. It may come 5,000 here and 10,000 there, but we'll find the money because this is a project of such historic note that we would not even think of not continuing it," said McCain.
The state is turning to private citizens, including the nonprofit group "Friends of the Archives," to help raise money for the project. It could take several years to finish the recovery effort, and historians say time is of the essence.
"We feel as though we have a clock working against us because of storm action in recent years. The wreck has now been uncovered, and it's more susceptible to deterioration than when it was under the sand," explained Jeffrey Crow, Archives and History director.
Members of the Division of Cultural Resources estimate it will cost $6 million to finish recovering the wreckage, including building a state-of-the-art lab where it can be examined and housed.