The HMS Endeavour was a British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded to Australia and New Zealand waters on his first voyage of discovery on 1768-1771.

The ship was launched in 1764 as the collier 'Earl of Pembroke', but the navy purchased her in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific. In September 1769, she became the first European vessel to reach the Pacific islands of Huahine, Borabora, and Raiatea, off new Zealand, since Abel Tasman's Heemskerck 127 years earlier. In April 1770, Endeavour became the first ship to reach the east coast of Australia, when Cook went ashore at Botany Bay.

However, the ship was largely forgotten after her epic voyage and spent the next three years sailing to and from the Falkland Islands. She was sold into private hands in 1775 and later renamed as 'Lord Sandwich', hired as a British troop transport during the American War of Independence and was scuttled in a blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island in 1778.

Archaeologists have been searching for the wreck for over 25 years. The ship was sunk along with other 12 vessels and researchers have been struggling to determine which of the wreck site might be Endeavour.

It is now believed that the ship is resting in Newport Harbour, off Rhode Island on the northeast coast of the US, so the search has been limited in waters off the Goat Island shore near Gurneys Resort.

The historical legacy of the discovery is of great significance for Australia, New Zealand, US and UK, which may create a diplomatic conflict as of which country is to keep the ship's remains, should her location be confirmed, according to CNN.

The British colonization in Australia as a result from the ship's landing resulted in disaster for indigenous peoples, with the population suffering from the introduction of new diseases and ethnic cleansing by white settlers.

On Friday afternoon, the research team is expected to publish results and 3D photogrammetric imagery of the site, while RIMAP hopes that the vessel might be excavated in 2019, exactly 250 years after Capt. Cook reached Botany Bay.