SS Sobraon
Divers have located the wreckage of the SS Sobraon, which sunk off the coast of Tungyin

Divers have discovered the wreckage of a British steam ship that sank in April 1901 off Tungyin Island, part of modern-day Taiwan.

The Taipei Times said the Taiwan Ocean Security Conserve Association had recovered objects obtained from a wreckage that they believed to be the lost vessel SS Sobraon.

The ship had been launched in Greenock, Scotland, 14 months before it sunk off the coast of China. The 7,382-tonne ship was on its return voyage from Shanghai to London via Hong Kong when she struck rocks off Tungyin Island just after 3am on 24 April 1901.

The 210 passengers and crew on board were able to use lifeboats to get ashore, before the SS Sobraon, which was owned by the owned by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co, sunk to the ocean floor.

It is believed that the ship may have been carrying loot from the British army's Battle of Peking in 1900, in which a multi-national force led by Britain relieved the siege of foreign envoys in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion.

After the loss of the SS Sobraon, the British government subsequently paid for the construction of a lighthouse that still stands on the same site today.

Tungyin Island is now a heavily fortified outpost of Taiwan, which is approximately 100 nautical miles northwest of Taiwan's northern port city of Keelung, in Liangchiang County.

Taiwan has a major missile and radar complex on the island and diving of its coast has been limited by tight security for many years. According to Focus Taiwan, local tides and weather patterns in the area also create difficult diving conditions.

A six-month underwater search was conducted by the association at the request of the inhabitants of the island.

Lin Cheng-yang, the president of the association, confirmed the wreckage was found by torchlight.

Jimmy Fan, a member of the Taiwanese diving team that located the shipwreck, told The Telegraph that the tides were strong and visibility was limited to two feet in the water.

"The ship is at a depth of about 30 metres and is badly broken up," Mr Fan said. "Many storms in the years since it sank have broken the wreck up, but we were able to see some of the hull plating, we found one of the two masts and one of the two propellers."

"We are interested in finding out what the ship was carrying as it may still be in the wreckage," he added. "This boat was one of the most modern in the world at the time - it had only been built one year earlier, and it had left Shanghai heading for London."

The official inquiry into the loss of SS Sobraon said the vessel was carrying 800 tonnes of cargo, including silk.