Remembrance dive

Remembrance for SS Salzburg

Divers have laid wreaths on the remains of a shipwreck which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people.

A team of divers from Ukraine have dived to the wreckage of German steamship which sank after being struck by a torpedo in October 1942, killing an estimated 2,000 people.

The team placed commemorative wreaths and a plaque on the hull of the submerged war grave in the Black Sea off the coast of Odessa, Ukraine.

One of the divers Alexander Kurakin, 51, said: “The divers put funeral wreaths on bent sheets of metal which were once fragments of the ship’s hull.

“A commemorative plaque was put on a thick anchor chain.”

The 1,700 ton ship, called the SS Salzburg, sank when a Russian submarine torpedoed it, killing two crew members and roughly 2,000 Russian prisoners of war who were on board.

The 85-metre-long wreck is now covered in algae and home to jellyfish. The team also found several plates with Nazi insignia on them.

Mr Kurakin said: “This is one of the largest maritime disasters and it should stay in our memory.”

The SS Salzburg sank on October 1st 1943 when its hull was pierced by a torpedo fired at it from the Russian submarine M-118.

The submarine’s commander was unaware that the ship was carrying more than 2,200 Russian prisoners from Burghaz in Bulgaria, to Odessa in Ukraine.

The M-118 was subsequently attacked and sunk by Romanian minesweepers. The submarine’s entire crew was killed.

Mr Kurakin completed the dive with underwater photographer Andrey Nekrasov, 43.

Remembrance Sunday in the UK falls this year on November 9th, when wreaths will be placed at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

More high resolution pictures are available on request. To discuss rates for using pictures and copy, contact news editor Tom Knight on 07815 004413 or tom@medavia.co.uk.

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