PHOTOS: Channel Islands shipwreck identified as the famed George E. Billings

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A team of divers discovered a shipwreck off the coast of the Channel Islands in February 2011, and now a recently published paper identifies the lost schooner as the famed George E. Billings.

The Billings was built in 1903 by the Hall Brothers. They built dozens of ships used in the Pacific lumber trade. Robert Schwemmer, the maritime archaeologist who published the paper, said this particular ship has historical importance.

“The significance of this ship and this find is that, not only is it the fourth Hall Brothers built ship lost in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary National Park, but it’s just unique in construction, because of 108 ships, this is the largest one they ever built, and represents the last sailing ship they built before ending the company’s history,” said Schwemmer.

The wreck site is now under the jurisdiction of the California State Lands Commission. There are talks of putting it on a shipwreck trail that will draw sport divers to the islands.

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