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Barrie Clifford talks to the BBC
"I've been interested in Captain Kidd for some time"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 17:59 GMT
Captain Kidd's flagship 'found'

Madagascar ma

Three centuries after the execution of notorious pirate Captain William Kidd, a veteran American diver believes he has found the 17th Century buccaneer's flagship.

Barrie Clifford, along with a team of marine explorers, has discovered a host of tantalising clues, convincing him that a shipwreck discovered near Madagascar is Kidd's Adventure.

Captain Kidd amassed a fortune in gold, silk and jewels during his swashbuckling career, and the fate of his buried treasure has become the stuff of legend.

Pirating the pirate ship

Many have hunted for the booty in vain but Mr Clifford is not divulging whether he thinks the wreck will yield any of Kidd's stolen treasures.

A pirate's life
Born to a Scottish minister around 1645.
Went to sea as a young man, gaining fame as the bold captain of a privateer in the West Indies.
Became a successful shipmaster sailing from New York
Sailed for Madagascar, Malabar and the Red Sea in 1696 with a royal commission to fight pirates.
Soon switched sides becoming the scourge of the high seas.
Captured on his return to New York and shipped in irons to England.
Tried on five counts of mutiny and hanged in 1701
He told the BBC he was concerned that foreign fortune-seekers, might rush to the area near the harbour of Ste Marie, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, and strip the vessel bare.

But, he said he is not worried about his pirate ship being rifled by the residents of the islands because they have previously shown little interest in, or knowledge of, the ship.

So far, the diver and his team have discovered the burnt-out hulk of the galley, along with bottles of rum - the tipple favoured by seamen - and pieces of Ming porcelain dating to the British scoundrel's era.

Buccaneers' haunt

Further exploration is expected to produce a wide range of artefacts such as guns, coins and tools.

The ship was located using British and American archives and modern satellite imaging.

The region was supposedly one of the chief haunts of buccaneers, who would venture out of the island's palm thickets to prey on the slow ships of the British East India Company.

Captain Kidd's fame was spread abroad by the popular ballad "My name is Captain Kidd, as I sailed, as I sailed." Many romances, such as Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island', have been inspired by the legend.

He was hanged on 23 May, 1701 - but not easily. The first rope put around this neck broke so he had to be strung up a second time, again the rope broke but the third one held.

His body was dipped in tar and hung by chains along the River Thames, serving as a warning to would-be pirates for years to come.

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