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The wreck of a century-old steamer has been identified in the Baltic Sea

A group of Finnish technical divers Badewanne have identified the wreck of a century-old steamer resting in the waters of the Baltic Sea. They locatedthe wreck of the century-old steamer in the summer of 2019 and have since worked to establish its name and origin. As it turns out, the ship was built in England
Published: November 22, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:35
The wreck of a century-old steamer has been identified in the Baltic Sea

A group of Finnish technical divers Badewanne have identified the wreck of a century-old steamer resting in the waters of the Baltic Sea.

They locatedthe wreck of the century-old steamer in the summer of 2019 and have since worked to establish its name and origin. As it turns out, the ship was built in England and owned by a Swedish shipowner, and sank in the late autumn of 1920.

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Mysterious wreck

The vessel rests at a depth of 60 metres and is in almost perfect condition. It must also be said that its sight is incredibly impressive. Since its discovery, until now, the wreck remained anonymous. Since both the exploration and the photographic documentation of the vessel, no traces that could reveal its name have been found.

Exploration of the wreck of a sunken steamer
The group found the wreck in summer 2019 photo Badewanne

However, the situation has changed in recent times, all thanks to the persistent work of searching through historical material accumulated in archives. This is where the hidden answer lay. Remarkably, yesterday, 21 November, marked an equal hundred years since the sinking of the steamer, whose name is S/S Blenda.

Historical photo of the steamer SS Blenda
Archival photograph S/S Blenda photo from the collection of J. Robert Boman/Sjöhistoriska museet
History of the steamer

The ship was built in England in 1874 by M. Pearce & Co. in Stockton-on-Tees. The steamer was originally named S/S San Domingo, but was later purchased by Ångfartygs A/B Småland of Sweden and the new owner renamed her S/S Blenda.

According to archival records, the steamer set sail from Viborg in Finland on 18 November 1920. Sailing with a cargo of birch canes, veneer and tar, it was bound for the English port of Hull. No doubt she was unlucky, for on the way, passing through the western Gulf of Finland, she struck a drifting mine on 21 November and sank.

View of the wreck of the SS Blenda
The wreck sank after running into a mine photo Badewanne

According to many sources, this was the first such situation after World War I, when a drifting mine sank a ship in The Gulf of Finland. In the days following the sinking of the Blenda, also other ships reported drifting mines. This was probably caused by a strong storm that ripped the mines away.

According to the report made after the sinking, which was given to the Swedish authorities by the crew, the ship sank within 5 minutes after the collision and the mine explosion. The crew suffered no casualties and got to the lifeboats safely.

Photo: Badewanne and archive photo S/S Blend from the collection of J. Robert Boman/Sjöhistoriska museet

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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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