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Underwater Protection of Turkish Wrecks - buoy project

Published: December 8, 2023 - 08:36
Updated: December 11, 2023 - 16:46
Underwater Protection of Turkish Wrecks – buoy project
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Revolutionary Project Pioneers Underwater Protection of Turkish Wrecks

While the year winds down and countries like Malta are clearing their dive sites of marking buoys in anticipation of brutal winter sea storms, Turkey is taking a different approach. In an innovative step forward, Turkey has just initiated a groundbreaking program to install 12 new buoys, demonstrating its commitment to marine history even as the year draws to a close.

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turkish wrecks
photo: Riza Birkan, one of the buoys installed at the Turkish wrecks

As preservation and conservation become increasingly critical to the world’s underwater heritage, Turkey is taking strides in marine safety and navigation. A groundbreaking project, sponsored by the Directorate of Gallipoli War Site National & Underwater Park, aims to safeguard some of the country’s most treasured nautical relics.

The project Turkish wrecks will see the installation of navigation and mooring buoys at 11 different Turkish wrecks sites, including the wrecks of the Majestic, Helles Barge, Franco, Triumph, Milo, Ari Burnu Lighter Boat, Ari Burnu Barge, Baby Reef, Kucukkemikli Reef, and two additional unnamed barges. The Majestic site will receive special attention with two buoys installed for enhanced protection.

HMS majestic turkish wrecks
photo: Marcin Pawelczyk HMS Majestic

These buoys will be equipped with current meters and temperature readers, collecting valuable data that will inform the next phase of the project – the underwater cathodic protection of these wrecks against corrosion. Cathodic protection is a proven technique used worldwide to arrest corrosion damage, making the metal the cathode in a galvanic cell.

In the words of a ministry official involved in the project:

 “We are looking at an extensive study period of two years. We need to monitor the changes in seawater over time and study wrecks at varying depths for cathodic protection. Our objective is not just to preserve these wrecks but also to understand the marine life around them. We hope to identify migratory species as part of this comprehensive research. This project is not just about conservation, it’s about gaining a deeper understanding of our marine ecosystem.” states Yusuf  Kartal

This initiative will also contribute significantly to the understanding and appreciation these historical wreckages. All wrecks will be photo and video graphed over 12 months, and a true scale 1:100 scanned diorama of the Majestic will be prepared for museum display.

turkish wrecks
photo: Riza Birkan photo/video survey on wrecks

Such projects are vital in preserving our shared underwater cultural heritage. Their preservation ensures the protection of history and biodiversity, making this project a significant step towards sustainable marine conservation.

Life on the Turkish wrecks, its not just metal and history:

Turkey’s underwater world is a vibrant ecosystem teeming with life, as revealed by the wealth of marine species that inhabit its historic wrecks. These sunken relics create artificial reefs, providing habitats for creatures, including nudibranchs, crustaceans, bream, wrasse, and other fish species. The shipwrecks in Turkey’s waters, ranging from naval vessels to planes, are not only an alluring dive site for history and archaeology enthusiasts but also a haven for marine life. The wrecks have become integral parts of the local marine ecosystems, attracting a fascinating array of aquatic life and contributing to the biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea. Divers exploring these underwater realms can expect to encounter captivating scenes of marine life on the historical remnants.

Why are buoys a crucial part of the wreck diving:

Marking buoys play a important role at dive sites, particularly those located far from the shore where divers depend on boats to reach their diving destination. These buoys serve multiple essential functions.

Firstly, they act as navigational aids for other vessels (informing to keep a distance of 300 meters), ensuring safe and efficient marine traffic. More importantly, they provide a secure mooring point. This is crucial in safeguarding the underwater wreck sites from accidental anchor drops or direct mooring, actions that could inflict severe damage to these historical remnants.

Secondly, the line extending from the buoy to the concrete block provides a reliable guide for divers navigating their way to the wreck and back to the surface. This is especially beneficial in conditions of low visibility or strong currents.

Moreover, for decompression diving – a type of diving that requires staged ascent to prevent decompression sickness – the buoy’s mooring line serves a safe way to ascend. Divers can hold onto the line during their decompression stops, providing a stable point in case of strong currents. It also offers a convenient place for divers to stow their stage tanks.

In essence, marking buoys are not just mere floating objects; they are tools that enhance safety and navigation for divers, while also serving to protect invaluable underwater heritage.

Gallipoli war site national & underwater park:

Gallipoli war site, known for its historical significance, has been transformed into a national and underwater park, offering an immersive experience into a crucial chapter of World War I. Divers can now explore the wrecks of 14 warships, including notable ones like the HMS Majestic and HMS Triumph.

The Gallipoli Historical Underwater Park, opened on October 2nd, allows visitors to journey into the past, exploring the remnants of the fierce World War I naval battles that took place in this region. Not only does it host hundreds of species, but this unique location is also home to trenches, castles, and towers related to the battle, along with graves of more than 250,000 Turkish soldiers. The Gallipoli Peninsula Historical Site spans over 33,000 hectares in Gallipoli, Turkey, and was established in 1973 by the Turkish government. With this underwater park, Turkey aims to preserve and showcase the underwater heritage of the Gallipoli battle site, turning a watery grave into a living museum of Turkish wrecks.

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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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