British WW2 sub located off Malta

ROV sent down to explore remarkably intact HMS Olympus

Author: Pat
3rd February 2012
 

A wreck discovered by a team of technical divers off Malta has been positively identified.

An ocean survey team called the Aurora Trust, based in Florida, has re-located the remains of British World War 2 submarine HMS Olympus (N35.)

Joint British and Maltese divers first reported finding a submarine off the Mediterranean island back in 2008.

However, their dives were conducted at the limits and in poor visibility. Aurora’s team used a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and side-scan sonar to explore the wreck in full.

HMS Olympus had been attempting to leave Malta on May 8th 1942 and pass the German/Italian blockade, when she struck a mine and sank. 87 men perished, with a further 11 making a seven-mile swim back to shore safely.

It was one of the Royal Navy’s worst wartime submarine losses.

The survey team report that despite obvious mine damage she lies perfectly upright on the sea floor, with her prop intact and hatch open, as though she were abandoned yesterday. There is also little marine growth covering the Olympus, and a distinctive 4-inch deck gun pointing skyward.

Aurora plans to show video footage to Royal Navy officials, and as a war grave the wreck site is likely to be designated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 
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