What happens to sunken ships and submarines

From Belgium, Germany waged its infamous submarine war during World War I. Several ships of the imperial navy were sunk. Now divers discovered a small sensation.

Ostend - After about a century on the bottom of the North Sea, a German submarine from the First World War was discovered off the Belgian coast. The ship is largely intact and locked, so that the remains of the crew of 23 men usual for the type are still suspected on board, said the governor of West Flanders, Carl Decaluwé, on Tuesday the German press agency. The riddle about the ship and the killed soldiers should be cleared up. According to the German embassy in Brussels, it will probably not be raised.

From the governor's point of view, the find is a sensation. “This is completely unique,” ​​said Decaluwé. Eleven submarine wrecks have already been tracked down in the Belgian sea area in the past few decades, but none is as well preserved. “It didn't explode,” said Decaluwé. The submarine was only damaged at the front. A diver found the boat in June at a depth of 25 to 30 meters near Ostend - the authorities are keeping the exact location a secret.

Spectaculaire vondst in #Noordzee. Bijna intacte Duitse duikboot uit #WOI, met 23 bemanningsleden aan boord # Oostende # FocusWTV # kustpic.twitter.com / gmtdxuLMoq

- Nathalie Dewulf (@ NathalieDewulf1) September 19, 2017

The seaside resort on the North Sea coast became a popular holiday destination for the bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 20th century, but was also a hotly contested theater of war between 1914 and 1918. The fleet of the German emperor led its infamous submarine war from Flanders against, among other things, British merchant ships.

According to Governor Decaluwé, the German Navy had three large submarine bases with 10,000 men in Belgium and sank more than 2,500 ships off the coast. “That was a dangerous weapon.” The Germans' opponents of the war laid mines off the Belgian coast for this reason. One of these bombs with up to 1000 kilograms of explosives was allegedly the undoing of the now found submarine.

Duitse duikboot uit WOI ontdekt voor de kust van Oostende https://t.co/YH0mzXiT6rpic.twitter.com/CSxTHLMFzc

- Knack (@Knack) September 19, 2017

Divers must investigate which boat it is exactly. Judging by the dimensions - the wreck is 27 meters long and six meters wide - Decaluwé is pretty sure that it is a copy of the submarine class UB II, which was built from 1915. According to his information, a total of 18 boats were in service in the Flanders fleet between 1915 and 1918. 13 were destroyed or sank in use.

If it is clarified which ship has survived there for about 100 years on the seabed, the names of the crew members could also be determined, said the military attaché of the German embassy, ​​Stefan Janke, of the German press agency. Divers would re-examine the wreck before winter.

The submarine will in all probability not be salvaged, also for cost reasons, said Janke. Usually the place of discovery is recorded in nautical charts and "a kind of cemetery" is set up there. The site will be secured and a diving ban will be enforced. That is also the reason why the authorities in Flanders do not name the location: They do not want to attract adventurers, as Decaluwé said.


List of rubric lists: © dpa