Su, 1.10.2023

Hydrographers find wreck of ship that sank 100 years ago near Saaremaa island


Hydrographers of the Estonian Transport Administration found an unknown shipwreck initially thought to be a warship from World War I in the Baltic Sea near Saaremaa island.

During routine surveying work carried out last week, the hydrographers of the Transport Administration found a 60x10 meter shipwreck 7.5 kilometers west of Saaremaa island at a depth of 20 meters.

During the dive made by the former mine diver Veikko Horm, it was revealed that the vessel is a merchant steamer, and according to Estonian Maritime Museum researcher Ivar Treffner, it may be the German merchant steamer Kronos, which was built in 1897 and sank on Nov. 16, 1923.

The merchant ship ran aground near Karala in Saaremaa, damaged its bottom and sank before reaching the shore along with its 21-member crew. The location of this wreck was not known until now.

Prior to this, the wreck of a World War-era warship was discovered at a depth of 62 meters near the Tallinn-Helsinki waterway in May. Peeter Valing, head of the hydrography department of the Transport Administration, said that their database currently includes 684 wrecks lying on the seabed in Estonia.

«Most of them have been found during surveying work. Twelve of them have been found this year, most of them small and badly decomposed,» Valing said.

This year, the hydrographers of the Transport Administration plan to survey a sea area of approximately 1,200 square kilometers and 60 square kilometers of Lake Peipsi. Most of the work will take place in the Gulf of Riga, west of Saaremaa island and the Gulf of Finland.