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The British vessel HMS Echo explored the wrecks of Gustloff and Goya

The multi-purpose British hydrographic survey vessel HMS Echo investigated the wrecks of the Gustloff and Goya, sunk during World War II. The sinking of both ships went down in history as the greatest tragedy in the history of shipping. The crew of HMS Echo have highly specialised equipment at their disposal to map the seabed.
Published: March 27, 2021 - 19:59
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:14
The British vessel HMS Echo explored the wrecks of Gustloff and Goya

The multi-purpose British hydrographic survey vessel HMS Echo investigated the wrecks of the Gustloff and Goya, sunk during World War II. The sinking of both ships went down in history as the greatest tragedy in the history of shipping.

The crew of HMS Echo have highly specialised equipment at their disposal to map the seabed. Using a multibeam echosounder, the researchers produced highly detailed images while surveying Gustloff wrecks and Goya. The prepared photo documentation perfectly shows the enormity of the damage to both wrecks. Gustloff wreck sonar image

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In the pictures taken, we can see that the German cruise ship Wilhelm Gustloff, which was converted into a hospital ship, is divided into three parts. While the Norwegian merchant ship Goya, requisitioned by the Germans to support the Baltic submarine flotilla in 1940, is destroyed near the bow. – said Lieutenant Phil Boak of HMS Echo

The crew of the hydrographic survey ship HMS Echo admitted that exploring both wrecks was an extremely fascinating experience. They also stressed that the enormity of both tragedies in the winter of 1945 had made a huge impression on them.

sonar image of the Goya wreck It is difficult to assess today how many people in on board Gustloff and Goya lost their lives. One thing is certain – they were the greatest maritime disasters in the history of mankind. There are many aspects to consider when looking for their causes. Key among them were the overloading of the ship or the use of an armed vessel to evacuate civilians. Also of significance was the departure in convoy and, in the case of the Gustloff, the breakdown of the command among high officers.

Map of the Baltic Sea coast Securing wrecks against looting is a separate problem. The current preventive measures do not work. Moreover, due to the current diving ban it is not even known when the looting took place. This situation could be remedied by regular visits of appropriately trained divers.

The Baltictech group has been systematically working on this topic. You can read about one of their fantastic discoveries below, in the pages of our magazine. Let’s hope that the situation will soon change and we will be able to better protect the historical heritage resting in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea.

Photo: Royal Navy

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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