Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunk U-Boat 33 threatening to resurface in English Channel


The Hindu
August 19, 2007

The sunk U-Boat 33, which was one of the deadliest submarines in the German Navy's fleet during World War I, is threatening to rise from the depths of the English Channel where it met its own end in 1918.

Lying in shallow waters, the wrecked UB-33 has been disturbed by passing vessels, leading to fears that it could break free from the seabed and rise to the surface to pose a new danger to cargo ships, tankers and ferries in the English Channel, the 'Daily Mail' has reported. Currently, the U-Boat 33 is lying 77ft down, but the official minimum clearance depth is 87ft.

A salvage operation has recently been launched to prevent the submarine from hitting any of the hundreds of ships that cross the English Channel each day. The area is directly beneath the shipping lane used by ferries travelling to Calais and Boulogne.

Trinity House, the institution which marks shipping lanes and maintains lighthouses, has temporarily stationed a vessel over the spot to warn ships and planning to gently move the U-Boat 33 to deeper water. "It has been there a long time, but now the wreck has started to move and it is causing concern as it has once again become a danger to shipping," the daily quoted Trinity House spokesman Vikki Gilson as saying.

"We have had divers surveying the wreck and one solution would be to re-set the wreck in a deeper position. It has been a hazardous job for the divers, but their survey is now complete. In the next few weeks, when conditions are right, we are hopeful we can move the boat."



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