MH370 search firm Ocean Infinity has a new target in its sights: German warships sunk during the Battle of the Falklands in December 1914.
The squadron commanded by Admiral Graf Maximillian von Spee was outgunned by the British and only two of the eight ships survived then encounter in the South Atlantic Ocean off the Falkland Islands.
The flagship, the Scharnhorst, and another heavy cruiser, Gneisenau, were both sunk trying to cover the escape of the other ships.
Two of the fleeing light cruisers, Nurnberg and Leipzig, were hunted down by British cruisers and met a similar fate.
A third light cruiser, Dresden, escaped but was scuttled in March the following year.
The loss put an end the German East Asia Squadron and only 215 survivors were rescued.
But the names lived on.
Battleships of the same name were built by the Nazis and combined with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen for the famous “Channel Dash” in early 1942.
The ship carrying Spee’s name, the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, was scuttled off Montevideo in 1939 and became the subject of a classic film, The Battle of the River Plate.
The latest search is being undertaken by marine archaeologist Mensun Bound under the auspices of the Falkland Islands Maritime Heritage Trust.
Bound previously tried to find the missing German ships in 2014-15 but is optimistic Ocean Infinity’s cutting-edge technology and the Seabed Constructor will be more successful.
He told the MercoPress South Atlantic News Agency that he could only point to a general area where Spee’s fleet might be and the challenge was finding it.
“The coordinates in the official reports of the battle are incorrect,’’ he said.
“When the fighting was over they had little idea of where they were and the sky was deeply clouded so they were unable to take sextant observations.
“The area in which we believe the ships were lost is huge. Equal in size to West Falkland or New York City.
“Although these were great fighting ships they none the less present a tiny target. Where to begin and then where to go; it’s all a bit like pinning the tail on the donkey.
“But if we are systematic and persistent, we will find them.”
The marine archeologist also this year led an expedition to find Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance in Antarctica but was forced to call it off due to weather and ice conditions that led to the loss of an underwater robotic vehicle.