LERWICK, Scotland (UPI) — A Scottish ship’s captain has found the oldest known message in a bottle, set adrift nearly 98 years ago, Guinness World Records said.
The record-keeping organization said Andrew Leaper, skipper of the Lerwick-registered Copious, found the bottled message in April in his trawler’s net alongside a haul of cod, haddock and monkfish in the North Sea. The was found to have been set adrift in 97 years and 309 days prior to being found, The Scotsman reported Friday.
The bottle — as well as the previous record holder, which was found by Leaper’s friend, Mark Anderson, aboard the Copious in 2006 — was from a batch of 1,890 bottles set adrift by the Glasgow School of Navigation in 1914 as part of a study to map the currents of the seas around Scotland.
The bottle contained a postcard promising a reward of 6 pence to the finder.
“I knew right away what I had found,” Leaper said. “And it was an amazing coincidence that the same Shetland fishing boat that found the previous record-breaking bottle six years ago also found this one.”
Scottish Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead applauded the discovery.
“The story of scientific drift bottles is a fascinating one and harks back to an area when we were only beginning to understand the complexities of the seas,” he said. “It’s amazing that nearly 98 years on bottles are still being returned to the marine laboratory — and in such fantastic condition. With many bottles still unreturned, there is always the chance in the coming years that a Scottish drift bottle will once again break the record.”