A trial to establish the cause of a shipwreck was held at Mandal in November 1721. The following is a summary of that trial,
On the 22nd of September 1721 according to the Julian calendar, The Providentz,sailed out of Cork harbour in Ireland bound for Arendal, Norway. The ship was laden with a cargo of butter, corn, grain, and malt. The ship and cargo belonged to a father and son Joseph and Walter Lavit. The Providentz arrived close to Mandal on the 16th of October where it waited for better weather conditions before completing its journey. Thirteen days later, early on Sunday morning, on the 9th of November according to the Gregorian calendar, a local pilot came on-board to help guide the ship safely back out to sea. As the pilot called out his instructions he mixed up port and starboard. This resulted in the ship grounding and subsequently ripping a hole in the port side. The ship quickly sank but all of the crew escaped unharmed. According to the pilot the crew were falling down drunk and the ship was incapable of steering. According to the crew the wrecking was all the fault of the pilot’s incorrect instructions.
And there the ship lay undiscovered until, at the end of many years of searching the Mandal dive club located it in December 2020. Together with the Norwegian Maritime Museum they have retrieved loose artefacts from the wreck and established the boundaries of the wreck site. It is hoped that by the 300th anniversary it will be possible to conduct a more in-depth survey of the wreck site by removing layers of sand from the ship’s hull.
The wreck site is important from an historical and archaeological point of view. There are few surveys of such shipwrecks of Irish cargo ships. The Lavit family is of enormous importance to the city of Cork. They were an extremely influential family, politically and financially. Joseph and Walter both served as mayors of the city and large areas of the city were named after them. By the time Joseph Lavit’s, son, Nathanial died in 1771 he had amassed a fortune of £100,000. The Providentz is also something of a mystery as it was not usual for Irish ships at this time to sail to Norway. Hopefully further research will reveal more about this amazing find.