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Underwater looters steal Baltic wrecks - film

A group of divers were caught red-handed preparing to dive equipped with metal saws. The wreck they were going to dive had parts made of coloured metals already prepared for extraction. The whole case was reported by Michał Wiśniowski, a diving instructor and president of the Alpha Team Association. Morning at sea It was supposed
Published: October 19, 2021 - 12:35
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:29
Underwater looters steal Baltic wrecks – film

A group of divers were caught red-handed preparing to dive equipped with metal saws. The wreck they were going to dive had parts made of coloured metals already prepared for extraction.

The whole case was reported by Michał Wiśniowski, a diving instructor and president of the Alpha Team Association.

Morning at sea

It was supposed to be a beautiful Sunday dive, but my blood just poured out. On the wreck, where I was the day before yesterday, I found a new thing. Scrapers, Baltic hyenas (because I can’t call such types divers) have prepared a “colour” for extraction. Boiler fittings on the steamer made of copper/brass were strapped and waiting to be pulled out. On other items it was evident that they had been sawn off. What was my surprise when, after surfacing, I saw the crew on the surface. One lady (yes, yes) was holding a saw blade. wrote Wiśniowski on the Alpha Team profile

thieves on the wrecks of baltic steamers
Non-standard equipment

From the information we can read, it appears that the divers, whom Wiśniowski encountered, came by boat from Rowy. They had already prepared the most valuable elements for pulling out. Boiler fittings made of non-ferrous metals were waiting to be cut out and attached with transmission belts. Everything was ready to be pulled to the surface.

Their explanation was meaningless. I see divers with saw blades. It looks bad. The instructor’s explanation that he is only here with the students to do a training dive. I don’t know what kind of specialisation this is. No normal person goes underwater with a blade. I posted a video and information on Facebook. The environment of divers from all over Poland is outraged. reported Wiśniowski

The entry by Michał Wiśniowski of Alpha Team caused such a stir that the matter appeared in regional and national media.

Posted by Alpha Team on Sunday, October 10, 2021

On October 11, the Ustka Harbour Master’s Office received information regarding illegal diving and the probable excavation of elements of wrecks located north of the entrance to the Port of Rowy. The wrecks that have been dived on are the steamers Emma, built in Gdansk in 1883, and Rhein, built in 1882 in Kiel, located within a radius of 1.5 nautical miles from the entrance to the port of Rowy said Magdalena Kierzkowska, the spokesperson of the Maritime Office in Gdynia.

The KPU is currently investigating and gathering evidence in this case. The vessel from which the dive was conducted reported its departure from port, but did not declare its intention to dive. As a number of regulations may have been breached including, but not limited to, the Maritime Areas Act, which requires permission to search wrecks, the Protection of Monuments Act, the Underwater Work Act and port regulations, the matter has been reported to the police.

Severed fragment of the wreck
Fittings with traces of sawing
Consequences

However, officers from the Police Station in Ustka asked the District Prosecutor’s Office in Słupsk to open an investigation in this case. The Maritime Office in Gdynia is also conducting administrative proceedings. A spokesperson for the Gdynia Maritime Office said that if the investigation confirms the allegations, the perpetrators will face serious consequences. This includes a fine of tens of thousands of zlotys and detention of the vessel in order to secure future claims.

There is no need to convince anyone of the fact that the diving community consists of very different people. Unfortunately, among this large group, as you can see, there are still people about whom a classicist used to say that there are no words in the dictionary of cultured people, which could define their behaviour in a sufficiently insulting way. Destroying historical wrecks and selling their fragments for scrap not only deserves punishment according to the letter of the law, but also total condemnation and ostracism in the diving community.

Screenshots from the video posted on the Alpha Team profile

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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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