Conjoint expedition to Messina Strait

You’ll find photos under the article.

On the early morning of the October 2nd  the research vessel «U-Boat Navigator» left Maltese waters and started her trip towards Sicily Island for our next expedition.

This time it is not only a historical exploration, but also a new chapter in our cooperation with Underwater Research Center of Russian Geographical Society(URC RGS).

At the beginning of this summer our colleagues from URC RGS started a unique educational program for youth in the Russian summer camp “Orlyonok”. For almost a month, experienced divers have been sharing their knowledge with the young generation.  The students learned the safety rules around water, the equipment and its use, the research basics of the deep-sea, hyperbaric medicine and history of aquanautics. The most interesting practical part of the project started after passing theory exams. The participants were divided into two groups: “divers” and “submersible pilots”, followed by an actual training: diving with aqualungs, driving underwater robots, diving in a manned submersible. The URC RGS director Sergey Fokin did not only coordinate the whole process of the learning but also shared his own unique experience of working on various deep-water objects.

At the end of the program, the final exam took place, and those who succeeded were invited to be part of our expedition.

Aboard of U-Boat Navigator, the younger generation met a higher level equipment that is more complicated to maintain. The crew of the vessel positively responded on the excellent level of knowledge and skills of the future explorers and therefore was glad to share the nuances of working with our equipment – Triton 3300/1 and Triton 3300/3, and the deep-water ROV Perseo. The students showed their best and took part in research along with our crew while immersing to the real historical wrecks (e.g., Russian cargo ship “Produgol”, which sank more than a century ago in Messina harbor)

During the expedition, the young people became the leading characters of the upcoming documentary movie about Messina Strait.  They visited historical museums and even made it to the functioning volcano Etna. Together with the crew of U-Boat Navigator students paid tribute to the Russian sailors, brave men, who rescued citizens of Messina after the horrible earthquake of 1908, and laid flowers at the monument

Another part of our cooperative expedition was participation in the conference, dedicated to the project “Ar.Bio.Me”  - aimed to explore the Messina Strait.  The Italian side warmly welcomed our group.  Further then we attended the mini-lectures on the project by the professors and scientists of the University of Messina. Next section of the conference consisted of digital presentations on works performed in line with the project. Our submersible pilot Dmitry Tomashov gave an overview of our previous explorations in Messina Strait, and Sergey Fokin opened even wider doors giving a short presentation on the importance of involvement of youth in Ocean Exploration.

Once again, the active collaboration between U-Boat Malta and URC RGO led to another successful expedition.  We truly believe that educating new generation is the important part of our work and future achievements.

We also want to express our gratitude to the University of Messina and its representatives for their kind help in the organization of this project – it would not be possible without you.

Below – some photos from the Russian-Maltese-Italian conjoined expedition to the shores of Sicily.