The Iona II dive - the search for lost cargo - Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter
In a brand-new commission for Sky HISTORY, Ross Kemp dives on a series of incredible shipwrecks around the British coastline to reveal some of the nation’s murkiest and best-kept secrets.
From the remains of a slave ship discovered off Plymouth, to the Kaiser’s sunken Imperial Fleet in Scapa Flow and an experimental submarine aircraft carrier, which sank with all passengers and crew on deck during its sea trials, Ross uncovers Britain’s hidden maritime past.
Along with his fascination for seafaring history, Ross has a personal reason for undertaking this adventure as members of his family served at sea, with some being shipwrecked and not surviving to tell their tales. His great grandfather 'Pop' was in the Merchant Marines during World War II and survived being shipwrecked three times. Pop's two nephews both served and perished aboard HMS Hood when it went into battle against the Bismarck in May 1941.
In preparation for this series Ross took an advanced HSE SCUBA diving course to prepare for the unpredictable elements of our vast seas. He dedicated himself to a strict two-month training regime to reach the level of expertise and qualification required to take on such perilous expeditions.
Episode Three: Slaver Ship Secrets
On the coast of north Devon, Ross is joined by Emily Turton, as he prepares to dive down on the wreck of sunken steam ship Iona II. The ship was heading to America in the early 1860s, when it went down with a mystery cargo on board that the owners went to extensive efforts to recover in secret. Ross hopes his night dive might reveal what they wanted back so badly but the wreck is shrouded in dense low visibility which hampers their investigations. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, Ross meets with a maritime historian who has uncovered the Iona II’s shocking purpose. His journey takes him to Plymouth to dive on a newly discovered wreck with maritime archaeologist Mallory Haas. This time, they uncover a staggering artefact that links the site to one of the most controversial and censored periods in British history – the transatlantic slave trade.