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Position of the Gdynia City Hall on the closure of the wreck of T/S "Franken"

On Friday, October 12, the Maritime Office in Gdynia sent out information to individual harbour masters about the closure of the wreck of the tanker T/S “Franken” to divers. At the same time, the “List of Wrecks of Ships Made Available for Diving” was changed on the Authority’s website, on which the “Franken”, currently the
Published: November 27, 2018 - 18:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:35
Position of the Gdynia City Hall on the closure of the wreck of T/S “Franken”

On Friday, October 12, the Maritime Office in Gdynia sent out information to individual harbour masters about the closure of the wreck of the tanker T/S “Franken” to divers. At the same time, the “List of Wrecks of Ships Made Available for Diving” was changed on the Authority’s website, on which the “Franken”, currently the only wreck marked in red, is shown with the description “Wreck temporarily excluded from diving”.

Five weeks after the wreck was closed and we sent an official enquiry about the reasons for the Authority’s decision, we received the official position of the Authority’s Director on the matter:

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“The Franken shipwreck has been temporarily excluded from scuba diving in order to address the risks that are associated with the potential for petroleum substances and ammunition to be deposited in the wreck and to ensure the safety of sport and recreational divers. The re-opening of the above-mentioned shipwreck for sport-recreational diving will take place after all doubts relating to the risks arising from the possibility of depositing in the wreck of petroleum substances and ammunition from World War II transported by the ship have been clarified.

The Maritime Office in Gdynia would like to emphasize that the temporary exclusion refers only to diving in the area of the wreck connected with sports and recreational activities, which is conducted on the basis of Ordinance No. 26 of the Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia of 18 December 2006 on diving on shipwrecks (Dz. Urz. Woj. Pom. z 2007 r. nr 11, poz. 347).

In the area of the wreck there are no restrictions related to scientific research conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 21 March 1991 on maritime areas of the Republic of Poland and maritime administration (Dz. U. of 2017, item 2205, as amended) and underwater works conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 17 October 2003 on the performance of underwater works (Dz. U. of 2017, item 1970, i.e.).”

The information from the Maritime Office confirms our earlier assumptions regarding the reasons for the closure of the “Franken”. We are very pleased that the Office and the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation plan to undertake actions to verify the threat and the data published in the report of the research expedition to the wreck of the “Franken” conducted in April this year. We hope that the research will be carried out as soon as possible and, as a consequence, preventive measures will be taken to secure the wreck.

At the same time, the MARE Foundation does not stop with the project activities planned under the project “Reduction of the negative impact of fuel spills from the wreck of the oil tanker “Franken”. For the next year we are planning a series of lobbying activities aiming at securing financing for the clean-up of the wreck of the “Franken” and the target undertaking of works also on other wrecks in Polish Baltic waters.

The project we are implementing is a pilot, and in 2019 we will be developing a general methodology for cleaning up wrecks in the Baltic Sea together with an international group of experts. “Franken” is just the tip of the iceberg and actions needed to protect our sea from fuel spills. We hope that thanks to the involvement of the Maritime Office and the Ministry, there will be more and more such actions.

Source: MARE Foundation
Photo: Michal Czerminski

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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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