A famous British explorer, journalist and presenter Oliver “Olly” Steeds visited our island last week. Oliver came to Malta to start working with U Boat Ltd. on the upcoming “The mystery of Britannic” project.
Oliver’s visit was planned by minutes – he had to master piloting of the company’s sub and then submerge to a couple of wrecks that are to be featured in the “The mystery of Britannic” series.
It didn’t take long for Oliver to learn how to pilot the sub, so very soon we were able to focus on filming.
After some practice dives in shallow waters, the research vessel U Boat Navigator took the sub and its crew first to HMS Russell and then to SS Polynesien.
First wreck that Oliver submerged to was HMS Russell, that met her destiny early morning, April 26 1916. She struck two mines laid by the U-73 the night before. A 132-metre-long battleship, pride of Royal Navy back then, today lies off Malta’s coast at the depth of 115 meters.
While filming this wreck the crew accidentally found an old sunk navy mine, probably also set there by the U-73 submarine back in the time when the tragedy happened. It was quite an unexpected find and it really impressed the sub crew.
The second wreck where Navigator launched the sub was what once used to be SS Polynesien, a French Risbec class ocean liner, which was lost to a torpedo attack of a German submarine UC-22 on the 10th of August 1918. Currently 150-metre-wreck is lying at the seabed at the depth of 63 meters. Luckily, this wreck didn’t hide any surprises for the filming crew and the dive went on as planned.
During the submergences and while at the surface Oliver narrated the story of both ships and explained what he was seeing underwater. The result of this filming was to everyone’s satisfaction and now the filming team with the U Boat Navigator crew is ready to move on to the next stage of this production.
Project “The mystery of Britannic” has been launched several months ago and now the filming goes on full throttle. In addition to many hours of underwater materials, some historic reconstructions were recently captured as well.
The documentary series “The mystery of Britannic” will solve historical mysteries and unveil the truth about the loss of some of the most interesting wrecks of the Mediterranean.