The Royal Navy has found a remote uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean has been in the wrong place for 85 years.
British sailors have discovered that Henderson Island, which is one of four Pitcairn Islands, is a mile south of the position marked on charts, which have been used by seafarers since 1937.
On Thursday evening, the HMS Spey confirmed the error during efforts to check and update charts regarding British Overseas Territories around the globe.
Crew onboard HMS Spey found that the island is in fact a mile south of its presumed location. Pic: Royal Navy
Sailors used radar and GPS satellites to get new images of the island’s exact position and when they were compared with existing charts, it was found the island was in the wrong place.
“In theory, the image returned by the radar should sit exactly over the charted feature – in this case, Henderson Island,” Lieutenant Michael Royle explained.
“I found that wasn’t the case – the radar overlay was a mile away from the island, which means that the island was plotted in the incorrect position when the chart was first produced.
Lieutenant Michael Royle is working as part of a government project to check the chart positions of British Oversea Territories around the world. Pic: Royal Navy
“The notes on the chart say that it was produced in 1937 from aerial photography, which implies that the aircraft which took the photos was slightly off in its navigational calculations.”
Henderson Island is uninhabited and is about the size of Oxford.
It is one of four islands in the remote Pitcairn chain, with Chile 3,600 miles (5,793km) to the east and New Zealand 3,200 (5,149km) miles southwest.
Henderson Island has earned the title of the ‘most polluted island in the world’. Pic: Royal Navy
The island was last visited by the Royal Navy in 2018 by HMS Montrose during an environmental survey to study the impact of plastic waste in the oceans.
Currents from the Pacific Ocean dumb masses of debris – an estimated 270 objects a day – on the shoreline of Henderson Island, earning it the title of “most polluted island in the world”.