The U-23 submarine was lying 40 meters beneath the water surface, some 3.7 km (two nautical miles) off the cost of Agva, a popular resort destination 97 km (60 miles) from Istanbul. The stunning find was made during the filming of a documentary produced by the Turkish public broadcaster and the country’s navy.
The footage was made by the Turkish Navy’s TCG Akin, a ship meant to rescue submarines from distress, which has among its equipment a remotely controlled submersible with a camera, which can dive up to 1,000 meters. The ROV captured first snaps of the long-lost hulk of the 280-ton, 40-meter long U-boat.
The location of the U-23 was guessed in 2008 by the Turkish marine engineer Selcuk Kolay, but the discovery provided a definite proof to his theory. Back in 2008, divers found the wreck of the U-20, another submarine from the six-boat flotilla sent to attack Russian warships in the Black Sea.
Both vessels were part of the six-submarine shipment from Germany to Romania at the beginning of the war, which made the 2,000-mile trek to the Black Sea port of Constanta in pieces. The unorthodox delivery method was forced by Turkey, which was a neutral nation in the war and was obliged by the Montreux Convention not to allow warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.
Over the next two years the flotilla sank dozens of ships – and lost three of their own in action – before Romania switched sides in 1944 and the German captains were ordered to scuttle the boats.
All six (U-18, U-19, U-20, U-21, U-22, U-23) have become known as “Hitler’s lost fleet” and inspired a series of underwater expeditions to find them.
The only submarine that continues to evade the search efforts of both intricate equipment and divers is the U-19. It is, however, believed that the vessel is hiding from spotlight off the coast of northern Zonguldak province, at the depth of more than 1,500 feet (455 meters).
The documentary is titled “Mavi Tutku” or “Blue Passion” is set to come out soon, its director Hakan Aslan told the Daily Sabah.
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