The Kalamitsi wreck


Executive Summary The purpose of this article is to present the work carried out by UST (the Underwater Survey Team) on the Kalamitsi shipwreck. The reader is offered a complete picture by way of ship measurements and the identification of various ship features. Hypotheses are proposed and conclusions drawn based on the study of relevant historical literature and evidence found in situ. The age of the wreck does not permit first-hand eyewitness testimony. However, reference is made to the verbal reports made by relatives. Finally, the results captured by 3D imaging techniques are presented, as too is a video recording.   Presentation In...

Map of coastal wrekcs in Greece


Recenlty, a great number of wrecks have became touristic attractions. Nevertheless, recreational diving in many cases is not allowed when a wreck lies on the bottom of a port, military practice areas and nearby army force's settlements, environmentally protected designated or declared underwater archaeological sites. Despite those restrictions, there is the option of visiting many wrecks washed up or within close distance to the shore, without the need of scuba diving. The digital maps of coastal wrecks in Greece resulted on the chance of reaching a coastal wreck during a hiking tour of Zoe Dimou at Skyros island. With an exploratory...

Myrmix and Lefteris – the VERA shipwreck


margriet anja vera wreck
In 480 BC, a fleet assembled by Persian King Xerxes headed south on a revengeful second attempt at conquest of the Greek mainland. However, in the strait between Skiathos and Pelion, at least three invading ships were dashed on a mostly submerged reef known then as Myrmix. Xerxes ordered the construction of a beacon to mark the dangerous obstacle and avoid further loss. At the beginning of the 20th century, due to the coastal traffic on the Thessaloniki-Volos-Piraeus route, a manned lighthouse was built in Pontikonisi, located on the edge of North Evia. It emitted three beams, one...

Three months aboard a Flat iron collier


birling thomas hardie christoforos
Ο σύγχρονος τρόπος ζωής με την αφθονία σε υλικά αγαθά ξεκίνησε με την βιομηχανική επανάσταση στα μέσα του 18ου αιώνα και η μετάβαση αυτή ολοκληρώθηκε στα μέσα του 19ου αιώνα. Κινητήριος δύναμη στην διαδικασία αυτή υπήρξε ο ατμός ο οποίος παράγονταν με την καύση του άνθρακα.  Η Βρετανία όντας η υπερδύναμη της εποχής ήταν η πρωτοπόρος των εξελίξεων και αν και νησί με ότι αυτό συνεπάγεται στην διαθεσιμότητα των απαραίτητων πρώτων υλών, είχε την τύχη να διαθέτει τεράστιες ποσότητες άνθρακα στο υπέδαφος της. Είναι χαρακτηριστικό ότι η παραγωγή άνθρακα στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο ήταν διπλάσια στις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα...

The sinking of SS NORSEMAN at Megalo Karabourno


SS Norseman
Translation by Ross J. Robertson The Birth Of The Ocean Liner In Its Modern Form During the 19th century, major developments took place in shipbuilding technology which led to the construction of larger and more efficient ships. Compared to wooden sailing ships, these better served the needs of mass migration to the new continents, particularly America and Australia. Among these technological improvements was the universal adoption of iron and then steel as ship construction materials. This finally overcame the problem of excessive hull oscillation, a shortcoming of wooden vessels which limited their length to less than 100 meters. The adoption of the...

Three months aboard a Flat iron collier


Ο σύγχρονος τρόπος ζωής με την αφθονία σε υλικά αγαθά ξεκίνησε με την βιομηχανική επανάσταση στα μέσα του 18ου αιώνα και η μετάβαση αυτή ολοκληρώθηκε στα μέσα του 19ου αιώνα. Κινητήριος δύναμη στην διαδικασία αυτή υπήρξε ο ατμός ο οποίος παράγονταν με την καύση του άνθρακα.  Η Βρετανία όντας η υπερδύναμη της εποχής ήταν η πρωτοπόρος των εξελίξεων και αν και νησί με ότι αυτό συνεπάγεται στην διαθεσιμότητα των απαραίτητων πρώτων υλών, είχε την τύχη να διαθέτει τεράστιες ποσότητες άνθρακα στο υπέδαφος της. Είναι χαρακτηριστικό ότι η παραγωγή άνθρακα στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο ήταν διπλάσια στις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα...

SOLFERINO


By Aris Bilalis and Nikolas Sidiropoulos   In the late 19th century, Robert Whitehead invented the torpedo, the weapon that would forever change the way navies waged wars. With the advent of the submarine, it was to have a dramatic impact during both world wars. Indeed, the lethal combination almost turned the tides of war in favor of the Axis powers as it threatened the UK's Atlantic supply lines and threatened submission through the starvation of raw materials and vital supplies. Before its invention, the only viable way of sinking a large ship in battle was with an even larger ship...

Italian WWI Wrecks in the Greek Seas


By 1914, Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina Italiana) was ranked seventh in the world. When Italy entered into the First World War, against Austria-Hungary on the 24th of May 1915, the Regia Marina was already operating in the eastern Mediterranean. From the beginning of 1912, Italian ships were deployed towards the elimination of the Turkish fleet at the Middle East and the Red Sea and then towards the Aegean in coordination with the Greeks, and occupied the Dodecanese islands. Italy agreed to return the Dodecanese to the Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Ouchy in 1912. However, the vagueness...

The action and sinking of the German submarine U-133 as seen through historical records, war diaries and field research


During the Second World War, one of the main weapons of maritime warfare was the submarine. Its contribution was so significant that it became instrumental in determining the development and final outcome of the war. Of all the navies involved in the conflict, it was only the German Kriegsmarine which assigned particular importance to the technical development and high production rate of this fearsome weapon. This can be attributed to the efforts of just one man, Admiral Karl Dönitz. During WWI, Dönitz had served on the light cruiser S.M.S. BRESLAU and then on the submarines U-39 and UC-25. From...

To Study what we have Dived and Dive what we have Studied


Greece is undoubtedly known for its crystalline waters and stunning beaches, but we seldom remember that in the early decades of the twentieth century, those same seas and coastlines served as a backdrops episodes of heated movement and battle of the First World War. Break past the waves on the surface and you’ll find an expansive graveyard of ships wrecked during this brutal moment in history. World War I wrecks are particularly spectacular, as many more remain whole and in-situ than those from World War II; yet until recently, they had not been fully recorded or focused on. Luckily...

The WWII Bombing of Volos


This article appeared in Taxydromos newspaper on 13.10.2019 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Greece. October 1944 – October 2019 Friday the 13th, October 1944 began in the city of Volos much like any other. Starved and subjugated, its citizens managed as best they could under a merciless Nazi regime. The 'Kítrino Apothíki' on the corner of Vassani and Gazi Streets still stands as testimony to those dark days. Countless were incarcerated and tortured within its imposing grey walls. Far too many did not survive. After the abortive 1940 invasion by Italian fascists, it had taken just...

Lost planes from World War II. Whispering Death


It is October 20th, 1943. The war rages on. A small boat approaches in the thick darkness and disembarks a small group of seven hand-picked men on the Greek island of Naxos. Lieutenant Aitken, the head of a Long Range Desert Group patrol, and his men have the audacity to be on the remote Greek island under the nose of a German garrison numbering about 650 men. Cautiously and quietly, they march toward the interior of the island. Aided, as always, by the local inhabitants, they hide and spy on the movements of the Germans. A few days later,...

P.L.M. 24


During World War II the P.L.M. 24, after hitting a mine near cape Sepia, was stranded by his captain to save her on the Paltsi beach. After the war it was contracted to Mr. Marakis, a wreck salvager, and as a result most of the ship's hull was cut as scrap, leaving only the lower part. Underwater Survey Team (UST) surveyed the remains of the ship and identified it through the archival sources available and with their own ship identification method called “geometric identification”. The innovation of "cantilever" ships Raylton Dixon shipyards were established in 1863 in Middlesbrough, England. In the...

Conference: “Scuba Diving and Citizen Science”


On Saturday, March 7, 2020, a workshop on “Scuba Diving and Citizen Science” was held in the Hall of Events of the Hellenic Maritime Museum. The event was organized on the occasion of the two years of activities by the Underwater Surveying Team (UST) of the Laboratory of Topography, School of Rural and Surveying Engineering, Faculty of Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh)….

The loss of the salvage tugboat MIMIS


On the nights of 28th and 29th of March 1941, the Navy lost a salvage tugboat, the MIMIS when it was hit by a mine. However, the loss was overshadowed by the German invasion just two days later. The vessel was built in 1888 at the John Readhead & Co. shipyards in South Shields, England on behalf of the British company, William & Thomas Jolliffe, which had operated in the tugboat industry for 36 years. Following the corporate tradition, it was named the JANE JOLLIFFE to honour one of the female members of the Joliffe family. It had a...

The Croquis


Kalamitsi wreck
Croquis (French): a rough draft, sketch or drawing, before any precise dimensions are taken, which helps to indicate each point of measurement and what feature it corresponds to. After a year of intensive research entailing countless hours in front of a computer, the time has come for yet another dive of the wreck at Kalamitsi* in the hope of gleaning some clue to its identity. Many equate SCUBA diving with recreation. This is undoubtedly true, but in the world of shipwreck hunting and investigation, sustained effort is also required. Everything must be examined – from its most obvious features to...

The Submarine of Kaiafa Beach


In the shallow waters of Kaiafa beach , local children had been jumping into the water from the conning tower of a submarine for decades. This strange childhood ‘plaything’ was once the Italian submarine AXUM. It participated in one of the most decisive operations in the Mediterranean of World War II. In the 1930s, the Italian Navy embarked on an extensive program of submarine construction. This was part of a massive expansion of the Italy's surface fleet. The fascist regime in Rome intended to relive past glories by dominating the Mediterranean, thereby turning it into “Mare Nostrum” (the so-called “Italian...

KATHLEEN


In the spring of 1960, the freighter ALEXANDROS struck the southern coast of Cape Poseidi, also known as the Kassandra headland, due to poor visibility. It had started plying the Greek seas at the beginning of the century, not very far from where it came to grief. But having survived both World Wars and even the process of scrapping, 91 years of seafaring were finally to come to an end. Interestingly, the ship and the nearby lighthouse which signals the entrance to the Thermaikos Gulf were built around the same time. In April 1869, at the Laird Brothers Shipyards in...

The Views of the S.S. Volos


Lefteris Reef in Greece has become the graveyard for many ships over millennia, but few can have as intriguing a backstory as the Volos, says ROSS J. ROBERTSON, who writes in collaboration with Dimitri Evangelopoulos, Dimitri Galon and Paris Sofos. So what exactly did Hans Hass find when he filmed the wreck in 1942?…

The torpedo attack by PAPANIKOLIS in Alimia


The torpedo attack upon Papanikolis in Almnia
The ELVIRA VASELLI shipwreck was caused by a British aircraft attack on Alimnias Bay (Alimia island, in the Dodecanese) on July 28, 1943. It was built at the British shipyard C.H. Walker & Co. in 1912 under the name B.A.H.W. No.11. In 1917, it was sold and renamed the ALUMINE. In 1930, when it was acquired by Christos Vlasias, it became known as the ALUMINUM. In 1936, it was purchased by S.A. Italiana Lavori Edilie Marittimi (S.A.I.L.E.M.) and given its final name, the ELVIRA VASELLI. During WWII, the ship was commandeered by the Italian government and used as an auxiliary cargo vessel until it sank….

The four “Rivers”


The four rivers
The steamships ALFIOS, ACHELOOS, EUROTAS and PENIOS joined the Greek Fleet in 1885. The ALFIOS and ACHELOOS were delivered by the Thames Iron Works & Shipbuilding Co. in Blackwall, England, while the PENIOS and EUROS came from the Scottish yards of Archibald McMillan & Son in Dumbarton. In April 1934, the ACHELOS was renamed the AKTI when it became the property of I. Peppa and briefly used in a shipyard until it was scrapped. The EUROTAS was acquired by Achilleas Chalkousis in 1945 and later sank as the NAGOS on July 26, 1951 after taking in water. The PINEIUS was renamed the TRIS IERARCHE by Ach. Katzani & Co. and sank on January 13, 1959 due to bad weather. In May 1925, the ALFIOS was converted into an oceanographic vessel and renamed the NAUTILOS, it was decommissioned in 1936, and the following year it was converted into a barge. Details of its final fate remain unknown….