A STEAMSHIP found at the bottom of the sea off the US coast has been identified as being built in Leith, 34 years after she was discovered.

Salvage experts now hope to raise the wreck of the 1028-ton SS Craigallon, which was built at Ramage and Ferguson's yard in 1881 for WP Clyde & Co of Glasgow, from a sandbank off South Carolina.

She was used to smuggle guns to revolutionaries in Haiti, carried money and was at the centre of a mutiny. She had towed one of the dredges to build the Panama canal from New York to Central America in 1884.

After being shipwrecked in the Bahamas, she was salvaged and renamed the Ozama. The steamer was at the centre of an international incident after she was seized by Haiti, when the captain of a US warship threatened to shell Port-au-Prince if the steamer wasn't released.

Underwater archaeologist Dr Lee Spence, the ship's legal owner who discovered her in 1979, said: "I was doing a magnetic survey looking for another shipwreck, when I stumbled across this wreck.

"It was a big iron steamer sitting there but I didn't announce I had found it because I did not know what it was.

"I came across an account of the Ozama being lost which matched the distance from the lighthouse at Cape Romain exactly with the wreck."

He believes it has a cargo of gold but won't divulge the details. He said he hopes to make a lot of money from the salvage operation.

The Ozama embarked on her final voyage in 1894. With the death of Haiti's president considered imminent, she carried guns and funds. "It would surprise me greatly if there's not gold on it," said Dr Spence, who thinks that, bound for Charleston, South Carolina, she struck a wreck in shallow water on the Cape Romain sandbank.