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Wreck of SS Hispania cleared of 500 kg of ghost nets

On the last weekend of May, the combined forces of the Aim Zero and Badewanne dive groups set out together to clean the wreck of the SS Hispania from ghost nets. The wreck of the SS Hispania rests on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, at a depth of 55 metres, near Ornö, near the
Published: June 11, 2020 - 00:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:16
Wreck of SS Hispania cleared of 500 kg of ghost nets

On the last weekend of May, the combined forces of the Aim Zero and Badewanne dive groups set out together to clean the wreck of the SS Hispania from ghost nets.

The wreck of the SS Hispania rests on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, at a depth of 55 metres, near Ornö, near the Stockholm Archipelago. A huge amount of fishing nets have accumulated on the remains of the sunken vessel over the years. These have made the wreck a potentially dangerous place for divers and representatives of the local fauna. That is why the combined forces of divers from Aim Zero and Badewanne groupsdecided to do something about it…

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Diver on the wreck of the SS Hispania steamer divers24.pl
Diver removing nets from the wreck of the SS Hispania photo by Alex Dawson

Work was carried out over two days to clear the vessel of dangerous ‘ghost nets’. The wreck is quite shallow, at 55 metres deep. However, any experienced diver knows that working in such conditions can be very hard. This makes diving a much more difficult and demanding endeavour.

“The work we have done on this wreck is particularly important because the removal of the lingering nets will lead to a lasting change. Due to changes in fishing practice, no new nets have been lost in this region for a long time, so the wreck will remain free and safe from them. Especially for the local seals and fish” – Marcus Runeson from Badewanne said.

Diver cutting nets on a steamboat wreck Baltic Sea divers24.pl
A diver cutting through the net on the wreck of the steamer SS Hispania photo by Alex Dawson
Wreck of the SS Hispania

The SS Hispania, is a 90m long steamer that sank after running into a mine during the First World War. The wreck was found by divers in the early 1990s and even then the nets covered it to a very significant extent. The deadly impact of the ghost nets was visible every year. Divers visiting the surrounding wrecks regularly reported new dead seals. The animals had become entangled in the nets in search of food and were unable to leave the wreck.

“We are mainly known for our interest in maritime history and old ships. We are passionate about discovering unknown shipwrecks and sharing interesting and often unknown stories from the past. However, Badewanne members also share a concern for the environment. over the years we have seen many wrecks covered in nets and trawls, with huge amounts of dead fish and seals entangled. We also see oil spills from rusting wrecks. excessive amounts of unexploded ordnance are also a major concern.” – wrote Badewanne representatives on their website

Now the situation with stranded wrecks should steadily improve. Sweden has received funding from Naturkompaniets “Naturbonusen” for a pilot project to remove nets from deep wrecks at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The SS Hispania is the first wreck cleaned as part of this effort.

Photo: Alex Dawson

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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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