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Looting took place on the wreck of the "Steuben"

More and more national media are reporting about the looting of pieces of equipment from the wreck of the legendary German SS ship “Steuben”. The steering wheel, compass and telegraphs, among others, have disappeared. The looting of important pieces of equipment from the wreck was reported by the “Baltictech” diving team, which on 18 December
Published: February 4, 2019 - 16:27
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:49
Looting took place on the wreck of the “Steuben”

More and more national media are reporting about the looting of pieces of equipment from the wreck of the legendary German SS ship “Steuben”. The steering wheel, compass and telegraphs, among others, have disappeared. The looting of important pieces of equipment from the wreck was reported by the “Baltictech” diving team, which on 18 December 2018, conducted a dive on the wreck in order to collect photo and video documentation.

Diving on a wreck like the “Steuben” is quite a treat. Especially since it was banned from diving in 2006. After many efforts and endeavours, the Baltictech team finally managed to obtain the relevant permit, so preparations for the dive began, the main objective of which was to conduct a documentation of the wreck and compare it with the small amount of available material.

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[blockquote style=”2″]”The effect of our dive is unfortunately striking… In places where there used to be a steering wheel, telegraphs there are only protruding screws left, almost everything that could be unscrewed has disappeared! As it turns out, the average depth of 60m did not prevent multistage underwater “works”. As it also turned out, imposing an absolute ban on diving on the Steuben did not achieve its goal, which is to protect the wreck. Unfortunately no one has so far made a full inventory of the wreck and we are not even able to determine at what level the Steuben has been plundered.”[/blockquote]

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Unfortunately, as can be seen, the preventive measures taken to protect the wreck did not work. Moreover, due to the lack of possibility to monitor the wreck by visiting divers, it is also impossible to precisely determine when particular items of equipment were stolen from the vessel. According to internal investigations, the stolen items probably went to Denmark.

The Baltictech team aims to ensure that the situation regarding the Baltic wrecks changes and that diving bans no longer occur.

[blockquote style=”2″]”For both us divers and government officials, a wreck is not just a piece of scrap metal lying on the bottom of the sea. Wrecks are kind of monuments to maritime tragedies, each wreck is a separate story of life and death, it is our common heritage that we must care for and be able to share responsibly.”[/blockquote]

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The ship was sunk on 10 February 1945, as a result of torpedoes fired from a Soviet submarine. According to different estimates 3 600 to 5 000 people died on board “Steuben”. The ship took part in Operation Hannibal, which consisted in evacuation of German population from Prussia and occupied Poland.

The ships ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ and ‘Goia’ were also sunk in the same operation. All three are considered to be the greatest maritime tragedies in history. In total, up to 20,000 people may have lost their lives on board these ships. 20 000 people. In comparison, only 1 500 people died in the most famous shipwreck of the liner RMS “Titanic”.

Source: fb.com/baltictech, polsatnews.pl
Photo: Tomasz Stachura

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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