Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

The search for the Correio da Azia

Author/s J.N. Green

Year of publication 2003

Report Number: 179

The search for the Correio da Azia, a proposal presented to Fugro by the Department of Maritime Archaeology Western Australian Maritime Museum

To locate the Correio da Azia, the earliest Portuguese shipwreck in Australia. It was an advice boat travelling from Lisbon to Macau in 1816 and was wrecked on Ningaloo Reef. Letters in the Lisbon archives include a report of the loss by the Captain and the report of a vessel, the Emillia, that was sent to chart Point Cloates, which at that time was a notorious navigational hazard for vessels sailing to China. These accounts provide clear details of the position of the site. It is located in a thick reef area in a depth of about 10 metres. Previous Museum expeditions have failed to locate the site because of adverse weather and the difficulty of searching this reef area with a magnetometer in a regular search pattern. Currently, the Museum is concerned that the site will be found by treasure hunters and will be looted.