World War I submarine found in North Sea

A World War I submarine has been found in the Belgian sector of the North Sea, off the West Flemish coast. The submarine, a German U-boat, is almost completely intact. Scientists believe that the bodies of 23-man crew are still on board the submarine. Of the 11 submarines that sunk in Belgian territorial waters this is the best preserved.

The submarine is 30 metres under the surface. Its precise location has not been given in an effort to keep bounty hunters at bay. This is the first time that divers have reached the wreck and have provided a description of it.

All indications point to it being a UB-II submarine, a German submarine from the First World War. They also believe that the bodies of its 22 crew members and their commandant are on board the vessel.

The Provincial Government of West Flanders Carl Decaluwé (Christian democrat) told VRT News that “The submarine is in such good condition that we presume that all the bodies are still on board".

Probably sunk by a mine

Although the submarine is generally in good condition, there is damage over its entire length especially on its bridge. Experts are almost certain that the submarine was sunk by a mine.

A possible scenario is that a mine that was held afloat by a cable was pulled underwater by the submarine and exploded somewhere on its upper deck.

The precise identity of the sunken submarine is not yet clear. A further exploratory dive will be needed to establish this. The serial numbers on the submarine’s screws will need to be checked in order to establish this.

The cameras images available so far are not clear enough to establish this.

Top stories