Fishermen who found the vessel believe the Oct. 26 wave off the Mentawai islands — which killed more than 500 people — lifted the 20-foot- (7-meter-) long ship from the ocean floor and pushed it closer to shore, said Yosmeri, who heads West Sumatra’s Maritime and Fishery Department.
Wooden ships laden with ceramic pots, golden necklaces and valuable spices for centuries navigated Indonesian waters, a key trade route linking Asia with Europe and the Middle East. Hundreds are said to litter the seabed off West Sumatra province.
The pots, jugs and bowls found last week still need to be tested to determine their origin and age, Yosmeri said, but he added that they are similar to 14th century artifacts found inside sunken Chinese vessels.
Local fisherman say they found the wooden ship after spotting its mast 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the beach off Pagai Island, hardest hit by the tsunami.