Sunken remains of a steamship lying on the Key Largo reef for more than a century now have an official name -- the Hannah M. Bell.
Archaeologists with the federal Office of National Marine Sanctuaries confirmed this week that everything known about the shipwreck matches up with recorded descriptions of the Hannah M. Bell, which sunk on April 4, 1911.
"Similar to the way detectives use forensic information to solve a crime, we compared the dimensions and construction characteristics of the shipwreck ... with historic shipping records in order to solve this mystery," said Matthew Lawrence, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary maritime archaeologist and the project's principal investigator.
"Measurements of the shipwreck and the records for Hannah M. Bell were virtually identical, as were the reported sinking location and the actual location of the wreck," he said.
Four scientifically trained divers from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers volunteered three days of underwater charting in September to help in the last phase of identifying the remains.
The shipwreck, at mooring buoy E-7 inside the Elbow Sanctuary Preservation Area six miles offshore, is known locally as Mike's Wreck in honor of a popular scuba instructor who died while diving.
The 315-foot, steel-hulled cargo steamship was built in England in 1893, and named for the woman who christened it. Both the steam engines and other valuable pieces were recovered by salvagers.
The steamship was headed to Mexico with a load of coal when it went down after hitting a reef, now know as The Elbow. All crew members escaped.