|In partnership with Hallstrom Holdings, Aqua Exploration,
South Africa's most prominent, professional salvage group, have finally discovered the
'Brederode'. Aqua Exploration comprises the following members:
Charlie, from Johannesburg, was once a successful farmer and is also a self-taught
engineer. A friend introduced him to diving - as a hobby - in 1972, and in 1976 he
embarked on his shipwreck salvage career on South Africa's Natal coast. He soon realised
the importance of research and, in this process, became aware that most of the important
wrecks were to be found along the Cape coastline.
Charlie headed the group responsible for discovering the
first English East Indiaman, the 'Johanna', to wreck on the South African coast in 1682.
She was carrying a large amount of silver specie in the form of ingots and silver
"cob" coins. After this discovery, however, the group split up.
Charlie, with two of the divers - Erik Lombard and Andre
Hartman - and another friend, Mike Keulemans, formed a new group called Aqua Exploration.
Charlie and Aqua Exploration discovered and excavated a
number of other wrecks, such as the 'H.M.S. Birkenhead 1852'. Charlie, the project
manager, was mainly responsible for the archaeology carried out during the entire
excavation. Other notable wrecks discovered or excavated included the English East
Indiaman, the 'Colebrooke', which wrecked in 1778 in False Bay with a cargo of military
supplies, of which copper, lead and complete bottles of wine have been recovered. There
was also the 'Northumberland' - wrecked in 1838, at Struisbaai - carrying a cargo of Ebony
and Rose (Paduk) wood, as well as the 'Borderer' - wrecked in 1868 near Arniston in 45
metres of water - which was carrying a general cargo of Indian produce which included tin.
Parting ways with the group, Charlie and his wife, Karen,
discovered the 'Britannia', wrecked in 1852 in St. Helena Bay, which was carrying a
general cargo including copper, lead, wines, beer, cognac and bottled preservatives. On
the 'Brederode' project, Karen is secretary to the Steering Committee.
Over the years Charlie has established a good working
relationship with the National Monuments Council, the South African Cultural History
Museum and Maritime Museums.
Frederik (Erik) Lombard
Erik began his career as a salvage diver in 1982 and was part of the team responsible for
discovering the 'Johanna, sunk in 1682. He then joined Aqua Exploration, and with the
group was involved in discovering and excavating a number of wrecks. Some of the more
notable ones include the 'Colebrooke' (wrecked in 1778), the 'Northumberland' (1838), and
the 'Borderer' (1878), which, at 45 meters, was the deepest salvage operation accomplished
in South Africa.
Erik was one of the senior salvage experts involved in the
excavation of the 'HMS Birkenhead' of 1852. Later going his own way, he was also involved
with the 'Evdokia', which wrecked in 1979 near Plettenberg Bay, recovering nickel and
When not diving shipwrecks, Erik is a keen, successful
spear-fisherman, having represented South Africa on numerous occasions.
Andre started his salvage diving career in 1982 and was also part of the team
responsible for discovering the 'Johanna'. He was one of the divers to become part of the
new salvage group, Aqua Exploration, which discovered and/or excavated the 'HMS
Birkenhead', 'Colebrooke', 'Northumberland' and 'Borderer'. Andre then went his own way,
starting his own salvage group, Agulhas Salvage.
In 1991, Andre acquired some information from a trawler
fisherman about how his nets had snagged on a wreck many years ago. On retrieving his
nets, he found a wooden pulley block tangled in them. He gave approximate co-ordinates of
that position to Andre. Andre's group attempted a magnetometer survey for that site, but
were unsuccessful in obtaining a reading in a depth of 65 metres (owing to their
magnetometer cable being too short). He then decided to pass this information on to Aqua
Exploration. With his percentage now secured should the Brederode be found, Andre went on
to become an expert on Great White sharks, running a tourist business filming these
animals in their natural habitat. Andre has also represented South Africa as a
Traill has been living in Struisbaai for the past 24 years earning a living as a
commercial fisherman. His vast knowledge of the area, sea and weather patterns earned him
a share in the Brederode project.
In earlier years he was a coded welder and his capabilities
as an all-round handyman have proved to be very valuable to the team. Traill also assisted
Aqua Exploration with the recovery of tin from the wreck of the 'Borderer'. Today, Traill
runs his own commercial fishing business as well as tourist fishing charters.
Arnold (Micky) Shapiro
Micky gave his brother Charlie Shapiro the finances to start his salvage career in 1982.
He is a partner in Aqua Exploration and although he is not a diver, his guidance in
business decisions, encouraging words and positive attitude are always appreciated by the