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The wreck of a 160-year-old steamer was found at the bottom of Lake Ladoga

Earlier this year, a group of Russian divers reported finding and identifying the wreck of the historic Finnish steamer Walamon Loustari. The ship was sunk in 1940 during the Winter War, in which the armies of the USSR and Finland clashed. The 30 metre long steamer Walamon Loustari was built in Sweden, in 1862, and
Published: May 13, 2020 - 12:35
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:45
The wreck of a 160-year-old steamer was found at the bottom of Lake Ladoga

Earlier this year, a group of Russian divers reported finding and identifying the wreck of the historic Finnish steamer Walamon Loustari. The ship was sunk in 1940 during the Winter War, in which the armies of the USSR and Finland clashed.

The 30 metre long steamer Walamon Loustari was built in Sweden, in 1862, and had a capacity of 132 GRT. She sailed the Baltic as a transport vessel. At first named Gusraf af Klint, she came into the hands of a Finnish owner in 1889 and was renamed Kjell.

brashpil

After 70 years, the steamer, which was worn out, but in excellent condition, was put on the waters of Lake Ladoga, where from 1931, already as Valamon Loustari, began to play a new role. The new owners of the vessel became monks from the monastery located on the island of Valaam. Now the ship was used to communicate with the mainland and to transport pilgrims and tourists.

leftside

In 1939, following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Finland and the outbreak of the Winter War, all the vessels in the Finnish part of the lake were incorporated into the Finnish Navy’s carrier flotilla.

basketonforage

On the 22nd of January 1940 the steamer, which was acting as an unarmed transport vessel, was attacked by 3 Soviet bombers. The first hit it received was in the stern, which caused a fire on the deck. A moment later, in subsequent attacks, the ship was hit 3 more times. Fortunately, the crew was rescued and after 75 minutes they reached the mainland in lifeboats.

illumright

Lake Ladoga is the largest freshwater body of water in Europe and the second largest in Russia, after Lake Baikal. It is located in the north-western part of the country, in Karelia and borders with Finland. Diving in this body of water is extremely challenging, due to very low temperatures and not very good visibility.

X-800x534

Finding the wreck of the steamer was preceded by a long search. For the first time, members of the Divo group from Eagle and Voronezh appeared in Karelia in 2017. They came across what turned out to be the wreck of the vessel Valamon Loustari while working with side scan sonar. They then meticulously prepared to explore their find, finally diving in 2019 to see for themselves what they were dealing with.

The wreck was found at a depth of 12 metres and identified thanks to a number of characteristic elements. Interestingly, the steamer was… the only vessel that the Soviets managed to sink during this 6-month conflict. Another interesting fact is that the members of the Divo group were convinced that the wreck they found was that of the Russian trawler St. Sergius.

Source: divefoto.ru, valamo.ru

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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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