Category Archives: Articles

The history of WW2: ‘Magic Carpet’ flying underwater

Numerous wrecks lying around Malta dumbly bear testimonies about the past. Many of those sunken ships clearly remember their last days, done in midstream of World War II. Back at those time Malta bravely served as a bastion of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean. The country courageously resisted massive attacks of the Axis powers, but supplies were running very low…

In 1941 it became clear that the supply of Malta by surface ship would be a hazardous operation involving both Force H at Gibraltar and the Fleet at Alexandria. From either base, a passage of some 1,000 miles was involved for merchantmen i.e. four days steaming of which a considerable proportion would be in a daylight, outside British air cover and within range of Axis air bases. Also, from the advent of enemy’s air power such a supplement became essential, and could be provided only at great risk by fast surface warships, or by the use of submarines.

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Pages of History: last voyage for “Polynesien”

“Polynesia” was launched in 1890. After almost 30 years of perfect service it was attacked by the German submersible boat. For nearly 100 years she’s been resting a couple of miles away from Valletta harbor. The ship seems to be a real magnet for divers and researches, attracting their attention for decades. No wonder “Polynesia” is now known as a “Titanic of the Mediterenean”…

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Simon Mills: “Interest in the Britannic is now a lot bigger than it was 20 years ago”

U-Boat Navigator expedition to Britannic in 2013 opened new horizons for the research team agenda. Explorers are planning to get back to the famous wreck during the 2014 to broaden perspectives for camera shooting. Meanwhile, we have a talk with the Britannic’s owner, renowned maritime historian Simon Mills.

– Do you remember the moment you decided to buy the wreck? – As it happens I remember it very clearly. It was actually July of 1996 that I first heard that the UK Government’s former title to the wreck of the HMHS Britannic was up for sale…

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The battle of Chesma and the Russo-Maltese relations

by Joseph-Stephen Bonanno, B.A.(Hons) (Melit.)

During the 18th century Russia and Turkey were frequently at loggerheads, culminating in the Russo-Turkish war (1768-1774). One major battle in this war was the sea battle of Chesma (24-26 June 1770). The aim of this paper is to try to demonstrate the contribution, both direct and indirect, of the Maltese and the Order of St John in this Battle.

The Russo-Maltese Connection dates back to 1698 when the first Russian delegation reached Malta during Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful magistracy…

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Sergey Veksler: “After each immersion you resurface being a new man”

Renowned Russian actor Sergey Veksler plunged to the bottom of the Kea Channel (Greece) during the expedition to the wreck of HMHS Britannic.

‘The appetite for the action reigns on the surface. But here, at depth, you feel an incredible tranquility. All you want is to keep silent and reflect, meditate. After each immersion you resurface being a new man’… – he says.

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The trip to Galápagos

September, 2013. U-Boat Navigator visited the Galápagos Islands – an archipelago of volcanic islands, scattered in both the northern and southern hemispheres in the Pacific Ocean.

The territory (18 main islands, 3 smaller ones, 107 rocks and islets) belongs to Ecuador, they are situated 926 km away from its continental part.

The Galápagos Islands and their surrounding waters are known to be an Ecuadorian province – a national park and a biological marine reserve…

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The “Britannic” experience

August, 2013. U-Boat Navigator expedition sets off for the Greek shores, where the legendary “HMHS Britannic” has been lying since the catastrophe in 1916.

Organizational issues for professionals, dreaming about the visit to “Britannic”, make an impressive piece of work. On one hand, there’s a vast range of license and permit questions to take care about. On the other, divers have to make sure they’ve mastered their skills to perfection in order to handle the works under conditions of serious depth and in complete darkness…

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HMHS Britannic: the sleeping giant

HMHS Britannic. The third and largest Olympic-class ocean liner of the White Star Line still puzzles the explorers and lures for underwater visit. She is one of three sister ships (together with RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic), built as the transatlantic passenger liner. But the First World War broke out, changing her destiny. In 1915 Britannic was transferred into a hospital ship…

Unfortunately, Britannic's lifespan happened to be way too short. In just about a year after a launch (on 21 November, 1916) she was lost by an underwater mine, failing the attempt to pass the Kea Channel.

The ship sank in just 55 minutes, leaving one of the biggest mysteries in maritime history. How could such a giant, additionally reinforced after the loss of the Titanic, go down in less than an hour?.. Britannic was the biggest ship lost in the First World War. Fortunately, out of 1,066 people on board, 1,036 survived the shipwreck.

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May 2013: visiting “Polynesia”

May, 2013. U-Boat Navigator heads to the spot, where a French container ship “Polynesia” went down to the bottom in a distant 1918. The crew mapped out a plan to work out the immersions before going to visit the legendary “Britannic”.

“Polynesia” was launched in 1890. After almost 30 years of perfect service it was attacked by the German submersible boat. For nearly 100 years she’s been resting a couple of miles away from Valletta harbor. The ship seems to be a real magnet for divers and researches, attracting their attention for decades. No wonder “Polynesia” is now known as a “Titanic of the Mediterenean”.

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