Up to ten shipwrecks will be investigated as part of this study: five wooden-hulled sailing ships dating to the 19th century (Ewing Bank wreck, Viosca Knoll wreck, Mica wreck, Green Lantern wreck, and Mardi Gras wreck), one wooden-hulled sailing ship pre-dating the 19thcentury (De Soto Canyon wreck), and four World War II-era steel-hulled vessels (Halo, Anona, U-166, Robert E. Lee). Most of these sites were discovered and examined prior to the oil spill by archaeologists, though only a few have been visited since the 2010 spill. Potential impacts to archaeological resources are not considered by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process and no other studies are investigating impacts to shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources from the spill.
These shipwrecks were selected for this study based on several factors: proximity to the 2010 oil spill area, availability of pre-spill data for comparison, proximity to known natural hydrocarbon seeps, similar date ranges for the metal-hulled vessels (World War II-era) and wooden-hulled sailing vessels (19th century), and comparable water depths. The Mica wreck, Mardi Gras wreck, U-166, and Robert E. Leeare within the spill area and are likely to have been exposed to Deepwater Horizon-related hydrocarbons and/or chemical dispersants. The Viosca Knoll wreck and Anona are within the spill area but it is not known if they were exposed to spill-related compounds. The De Soto Canyon wreck is southeast and downslope of the Macondo wellhead and it is unknown if it was exposed to spill-related hydrocarbons. The Ewing Bank wreck, Green Lantern wreck, and Halo are west of the spill area and are not likely to have been impacted by the spill. These three shipwrecks will serve as control sites for comparative purposes.