Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Nation & World


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published Monday, November 2, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Pieces of WWII-era UK warship apparently found

Pieces of a British destroyer that was badly damaged by Albanian mines in 1946, straining relations between the two countries for decades, appear to have been discovered in a waterway near Greece, U.S. and Albanian researchers said Monday.

Associated Press Writer

TIRANA, Albania —

Pieces of a British destroyer that was badly damaged by Albanian mines in 1946, straining relations between the two countries for decades, appear to have been discovered in a waterway near Greece, U.S. and Albanian researchers said Monday.

The wreckage was found 50 yards (meters) under water in the Corfu Channel between the Albanian mainland and the Greek island of Corfu. It is believed to be a section of the bow of the British destroyer HMS Volage, the researchers said.

Forty-four sailors died in the mine explosions that damaged the Volage and another British Navy destroyer, the HMS Saumarez. Both ships suffered extensive damage but reached Corfu for repairs.

The incident halted talks between Communist Albania and Britain on restoring diplomatic ties that were broken earlier that year. The two countries only formally re-established ties in 1991.

"While largely obscured by mud, the remains show steel frames, electrical wiring, ammunition, stacks of ceramic plates, a British canteen and the remains of boots or shoes," said James Delgado, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, who was part of the international team of experts. The institute is nonprofit research body affiliated with Texas A&M University.

The discovery was part of an effort to create an underwater cultural heritage map of the Albanian coastline and is being coordinated by the Key West, Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation and aided by Albanian authorities.

The artifacts are to be raised and analyzed for confirmation, "but the nature of the finds strongly suggest ... this was where HMS Volage hit the mine that tore off its bow," Delgado said. "The area of Volage blasted off by the mine was forward of the deck guns and included the forward mess, where some of the crew ate and slept, as well as storage compartments. The dishes, shoes and ammunition are evidence that fit."

The wreckage, which lies off the Albanian port of Saranda, 185 miles (300 kilometers) south of Tirana, the country's capital, was examined by a remote-controlled submarine carrying three cameras.

The British sailors' deaths started a dispute between Britain and Albania that lasted 45 years.

Albania refused to pay Britain damages awarded by the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Britain retaliated by blocking the release of Albanian gold seized by the Nazis during World War II. The claims were settled in 1992 and 1996 agreements, under which ownership of most of the gold was returned to Albania.

The researchers said a report on the ship's discovery and supporting footage had been sent to the Albanian and British governments.

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Nation & World

UPDATE - 10:01 AM
Rebels tighten hold on Libya oil port

UPDATE - 09:29 AM
Reality leads US to temper its tough talk on Libya

UPDATE - 09:38 AM
2 Ark. injection wells may be closed amid quakes

Armed guards save Dutch couple from Somali pirates

Navy to release lewd video investigation findings

More Nation & World headlines...

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.

advertising


Get home delivery today!

Video

Advertising

AP Video

Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech

Marketplace

Advertising