Ertuğrul sank in a typhoon before leaving Japan in September 1890, and all but 69 of her 609 crew and their commander were lost. To this day the disaster holds an important place in both Japanese and Turkish history, and the shipwreck itself is recognized as a founding monument of the friendship between the two nations.
In 1889, Sultan Abdulhamid II dispatched the Imperial frigate Ertuğrul to Japan under his admiral Osman Pasha. The voyage was a goodwill mission signaling growing friendship between the Ottoman Empire and the new rising power of the East, but it ended in tragedy.
In January 2007, a team from Turkey under the direction of Tufan Turanli and Cemal Pulak conducted an underwater survey of the Ertuğrul wreck location. Various teams worked simultaneously to ascertain the site area and locate the remains of the ship and her cargo using sonar, magnetometer and visual survey.
Several of the objects raised during this time were brought to INA’s lab in Bodrum for conservation before being returned to the Turkish Museum on Oshima Island, Japan. (see 2007 archaeological report and INA 2007 annual) A year later, Tufan Turanli and his team returned for the first season of underwater excavation of Ertuğrul.