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Steamship wreck found in Lake Ontario's NY waters; sank after 1926 collision with other vessel

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SOMERSET, New York — The wreck of a 253-foot British-built steamship that sank off Lake Ontario's western New York shore after colliding with another vessel nearly 90 years ago has been found, a team of underwater explorers said Tuesday.

The four-man team from the Rochester area, Ohio and Texas said it found the wreck of the Nisbet Grammer in more than 500 feet of water about eight miles off Somerset.

The ship was hauling a load of grain from Buffalo to Montreal when it collided with the steamship Dalwarnic in dense fog early on the morning of May 31, 1926. The stricken ship sank in less than 15 minutes, but all aboard were saved by the crew from the other steamer.

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by James Kennard shows the Nesbit Grammer on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. The ship was launched in April 1923 and sank at the end of May 1926 after colliding with another steamship on Lake Ontario off western New York shore. A team of shipwreck explorers says it found the wreck of the Nesbit Grammer in late August 2014 in more than 500 feet of water about 8 miles from the shore of Somerset, N.Y. (AP Photo/courtesy of James Kennard)
This undated photo provided by James Kennard shows the Nesbit Grammer on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. The ship was launched in April 1923 and sank at the end of May 1926 after colliding with another steamship on Lake Ontario off western New York shore. A team of shipwreck explorers says it found the wreck of the Nesbit Grammer in late August 2014 in more than 500 feet of water about 8 miles from the shore of Somerset, N.Y. (AP Photo/courtesy of James Kennard)

A six-year search for the sunken ship ended in August when the team's side-scan sonar detected the wreck, said Jim Kennard of Fairport.

The other team members are Roland Stevens of Pultneyville, New York; Craig Hampton of Lorain, Ohio; and former Rochester resident Dan Scoville, who lives in Houston.

The Nisbet Grammer, named for one of its Buffalo-based owners, was launched from a shipyard in England in 1926. It was known as a "canaller," a type of steamship used to transport grain, coal and other products through Ontario's Welland Canal to ports on lakes Erie and Ontario.

The ship was the largest steel steamer to sink in Lake Ontario, Kennard said. The team surveyed more than 80 square miles of lake bottom until finding the wreck site in late August, he said.

A remotely operated vehicle was used to obtain video of the shipwreck and identify it as the Nisbet Grammer, Kennard said.

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