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The underwater vehicle "Delfin II" - a new monument of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk

Listen to this article The Shipwreck Conservation Centre in Tczew received the “Delfin II” – an underwater vehicle designed for deep-sea research, weighing one and a half tonnes. “Delfin II” was constructed by Antoni Dębski and built under the auspices of the Pomeranian Branch of the Society of Friends of Earth Science. The object, bought
Published: January 25, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:57
The underwater vehicle “Delfin II” – a new monument of the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk
Listen to this article

The Shipwreck Conservation Centre in Tczew received the “Delfin II” – an underwater vehicle designed for deep-sea research, weighing one and a half tonnes.

“Delfin II” was constructed by Antoni Dębski and built under the auspices of the Pomeranian Branch of the Society of Friends of Earth Science. The object, bought from a private owner, is now awaiting a detailed conservation process so that it can soon please the visitors’ eyes.

Underwater vehicle The non-self-propelled, dry-cockpit bathyscaph was designed for observation of trawls, nets, bottom and marine fish biology. “Delfin II” was operated on the research vessel r/v “Professor Siedlecki. In May 1974 he participated in the so-called African cruise under the scientific direction of dr. Zbigniew Ziembo. The research work was conducted on the shelf of northwest Africa, at the height of the Spanish Sahara. During the cruise, more than 100 successful “electrified” trawl hauls were made, including two observed from the underwater two-man towed vehicle “Dolphin II”.

Archival photograph of Dolphin II In July of the same year, “Professor Siedlecki” held a Baltic cruiseDuring this time, the so-called line trawl trials were carried out in the Gotland Deep. The leader of the scientific team carrying out these trials was Professor Andrzej Ropelewski.

“Dolphin II” is a two-person gear observation vehicle. During operation the vehicle was towed. In the central part there is a superstructure with a hermetically sealed hatch. There is also a second hatch, provided for emergency lowering of the vehicle. On either side of the body are ballast tanks filled with compressed air, the supply of which was contained in two 50-litre cylinders at 150 at. Nine portholes directed forward, sideways, downwards and backwards allowed observation and taking photographic pictures explains Wojciech Joński of the NMM’s Oceanography Department.

Batyskaf in CKWS in Tczew Appropriate vehicle positioning in the water was regulated by the length of the cable issued and the deflection of the vertical and horizontal rudders. The vehicle’s stability was ensured by large ballast fins in the shape of skids, fixed under the bottom of the body. They also served as the vehicle’s stand during transport or storage.

Maintenance

Now we have a lot of work ahead of us, as we realise that our vehicle currently has no display value. However, it is worth noting that at first glance, the vehicle’s corrosion is not extensive. The actual condition will be assessed after a thorough washing. The next stage will be a possible replacement of damaged sheet metal elements. We will also unscrew the portholes in order to thoroughly wash the windows. Further work will include sandblasting the metal elements and putting the vehicle together. We will choose the type of paint which will make it possible to exhibit the object in the future not only under the roof, but also outside. says Irena Rodzik, head of the Museum Collections Conservation Department at the National Museum in Wrocław (NMM).

Historic photo of a Polish bathyscaphe Conservation process of “Dolphin II” It may take several months to complete. Museum officials plan to present the vehicle in 2023, during an exhibition on underwater discoveries.

Task: “The purchase of the underwater vehicle “Delfin II” was financed from an earmarked subsidy for investment expenditure using the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the state budget. Co-financing: 95 000 PLN.

Photo: National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk


Will a thorough exploration of the wreck of the SS Karlsruhe reveal what the Germans were trying to export on the last transport from besieged Königsberg? You will read more in the 15th issue the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can buy the printed version in our online shop.

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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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