Paris II is a WWI-era French naval vessel that rests off the coast of Turkey. It was a patrol ship that was sunk by artillery fire on December 13, 1917. Seventeen crew members were rescued from the sunken vessel and later taken as prisoners of war.
Turkish authorities have reported that the shipwreck has suffered serious damage in recent years. All of this is blamed on underwater tourists who visit the wreck and take pieces of it as souvenirs. According to scientist Mehmet Gökoğlu, due to the number of scuba divers tourists, the damage to the wreck is significant.
The shipwreck of the WWI-era warship was discovered in 1995 off the coast of the city of Antalya. Measuring 50 metres in length, the steel hull quickly became a popular and important site for underwater tourism. This was certainly influenced by its closeness to shore and not much depth, which made the wreck easily accessible.
There are tiles on the wreck that we count every year. This year we noticed a significant decrease in their number. All because some visitors take items from the shipwreck as souvenirs. The vessel is also wrapped in fishing nets that have been torn off, which must be removed without causing damage to the wreck. We need to protect the site. The wreck is deteriorating over time and we need to eliminate factors that accelerate this process,” said Mehmet Gökoğlu.
The wreck of the French patrol ship rests at a depth of only 25 to 33 metres. This makes it very accessible to a large number of divers. Additional attractions are undoubtedly the ammunition still lying on the wreck, as well as 6 anti-aircraft guns and 2 torpedo tubes. The above mentioned features make the wreck of the French ship one of the favourite spots among underwater photographers.
Wreck diving is an unforgettable experience. Behind each of such ships there is a different and very often extremely interesting story. In addition, wrecks wonderfully diversify the underwater landscape and quickly become home to local wildlife. Thus, in addition to the steel structure itself, we can experience a vibrant underwater ecosystem.
Of course, wreck diving has a number of rules that every diver should follow. In addition to the regulations related to proper training and our safety underwater, there are also principles whose purpose is to protect the wreck itself. All because with the moment of sinking, every ship heads out on its final voyage, which will end in its complete destruction.
Depending on the area and the specifics of the site, the process of wreck decay may be slower or faster. It cannot, however, change the fact that it is moving inexorably forward. We can easily grasp this by looking at underwater photographs of particular ships. Even wrecks that, from a diver’s perspective, were fortunate enough to sink in a favorable location bear the mark of time. This can be seen with the naked eye when we compare photos taken over a period of 5 or 10 years.
Therefore, “taking souvenirs” from under the water other than photos and memories is not only seen badly, but also penalized. In many cases, wrecks are protected and it is forbidden even to swim over them or approach them at a short distance.
Let’s hope that the situation will improve and the wreck of the French ship will not be excluded from the list of those available for diving. Such a turn of events would certainly not be in anyone’s favor.
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