Luke Ryan on National Geographic

by Mark McMillin on January 25, 2012

June 27, 2011: National Geographic released its documentary on a story about Luke Ryan, or more specifically, about a dive off the coast of Wales on a wreck thought to be one of Ryan’s privateers. The wreck, however, was not one of Ryan’s ships. Ryan had three heavily-armed raiders: the Black Prince, the Black Princess and the Fearnot. To my knowledge no one knows the fate of the Black Princess or the Fearnot. After Franklin’s privateering commissions expired, and after Ryan was caught, these two ships fade from history. But we do know that the Prince floundered on the rocks within range of the shore batteries at Berck, France in 1780. The site should be easy to find as Ryan’s men, who had rowed safely to shore in the long boats, had time to row back to the Prince when she did not sink immediately and spent the next 24 hours removing as many of her guns and salvaging as much of the equipment and provisions as they could before she finally slipped beneath the waves in shallow water. She, therefore, must be close to shore. Perhaps the folks at National Geographic should search the waters around Berck…

For more details, visit National Geographic’s Ben Franklin’s Pirate Fleet.

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