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Have divers found the Amber Room?

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During their September expedition, a team of divers from Batlictech led by Tomasz Stachura found the German steamer Karlsruhe. The Steamer was involved in Operation Hannibal, the largest marine evacuation in history, which saw the Nazis transport approximately two million refugees from East Prussia to the West as they fled the red army in early 1945. Karlsruhe was the last ship leaving Piława, the port at Koenigsberg.

This discovery may provide ground-breaking insights into the disappearance of the legendary Amber Room because it was in Königsberg that the Amber Room was seen for the last time. From there, the Karlsruhe steamboat sailed out on her last big-loaded cruise.

“Karlsruhe was a small, old ship, but in those days, every unit capable of evacuating people to the west was important. We had been looking for the wreck for over a year to realize that it could be the most interesting, undiscovered history from the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Karlsruhe set off on her last voyage under extreme tight security quite heavily loaded as for this ship. The wreck rests several dozen kilometers north of Ustka at a depth of 88 meters. It is virtually untouched. In its cargo holds we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many chests with so far unknown contents”, says Tomasz Stachura.

SS Karlsruhe was constructed in G.Seebeck Bremerhaven shipyard in 1905. Her dimensions: Length – 66.3 m / Width – 10.1 m / Draught – 3.6 m / Load displacement – 897 tons.

On the last voyage she set off from Piława (the port of Koenigsberg) on April 12, 1945. There were 150 soldiers of the “Herman Gornig” regiment, 25 railroad workers and 888 refugees on board. Together with the crew there was a total of 1083 people. The ship also took 360 tons of “returnable goods” in uneven chests; and military vehicles.

A convoy consisting of four Freighters and three Minesweepers was formed right before the Hel Peninsula. This convoy left the roadstead of Hel on 12th April in the evening. In the morning of 13th April, she was detected by Soviet planes that attacked Karlsruhe and then sank the ship. The ship sank within three minutes with its entire cargo. About 100 people were saved. The position of the attack was imprecise, and the resting place of the wreck was unknown until recently.

“The history and available documentation indicate that the German steamer Karlsruhe was leaving the port in a great hurry and with a large cargo after the Germans had to evacuate Koenigsberg. All of this, when put together, stimulates people’s imagination. Finding a German steamer and a chest with unknown contents resting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea can be significant to the entire history”, says diver Tomasz Zwara, member of the Baltictech team who finally identified the wreck.

The Amber Room was a golden, jewel-encrusted room, which was made of several tons of gemstones and was a gift to Peter the Great in 1716 to celebrate peace between Russia and Prussia. It was stolen by the Nazis during World War 2 and the amber panels were placed into crates which disappeared in the final months of the war.


Baltictech

Baltictech is a diving group from Tri-City, Poland which is involved in the study of Baltic wrecks and promotes the Baltic as one of the most interesting dive sites in the world. Find out more here:

www.batictech.com

Tomasz Stachura

Renowned Baltic Sea wreck diver, Tomasz Stachura, specialises in taking underwater photos of wrecks at great depth. He is Founder of SANTI Diving and Co-founder of Baltictech – international conference. Find out more at:

www.stachuraphoto.com

www.santiodnalezcorla.pl

www.santidiving.com

News

The Rescue – available on Disney+ tomorrow (Watch Trailer)

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If you missed the recent cinema debut of The Rescue film, you can watch it on streaming channel Disney+ from tomorrow December 3rd.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo), The Rescue is the edge-of-your-seat account of the rescue of 12 Thai school boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in 2018.

The Rescue chronicles the dramatic rescue of the boys and their coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. Academy Award®-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin reveal the perilous world of cave diving, the bravery of the rescuers, and the dedication of an entire community that made great sacrifices to save these young boys. An outing to explore a nearby system of caves after soccer practice transformed into a two-week saga of survival and a story that would capture the world’s attention. With exclusive access and never-before-seen footage from the rescue, the film tells the story of the imagination, determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during this heroic edge-of-your-seat mission with life-or-death stakes.

Check back for our review of The Rescue soon!

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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Guardian investigation finds endangered sharks for sale in Taiwan

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A field investigation into Taiwan’s shark fin industry was conducted by Shark Guardian between December 2020 and March 2021. The investigation obtained documentary evidence of fins from endangered shark species being openly offered for sale by over half of all shark fin traders surveyed in Taiwan’s southern fishing port of Kaohsiung.

Of the 13 shark fin processing and trading companies visited, more than half were found to be trading CITES- listed fins, and seven had shark fins from CITES Appendix II-listed species as part of their product range. One company saidthere was no difference in selling protected or unprotected species. Protected sharks’ products usually create a problem for international shipping only.”

The new report details how seven out of thirteen traders surveyed in Taiwan were found to be selling shark fins from silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mako sharks, thresher sharks and great white sharks in broad daylight – in contravention of Taiwanese and international law.

Over a three-month period, Shark Guardian investigators witnessed multiple shipments of shark fins from endangered species being unloaded at Donggang fish market which is in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.

Alex Hofford, Marine Wildlife Campaigner with Shark Guardian, said “To save sharks and the marine environment, Taiwanese authorities should implement an immediate crackdown on its cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, and should tighten up local laws to ban the domestic sale of shark fin as well as better enforce its international obligations under CITES. It is also high time that the Taiwanese government should rein in its out-of-control distant water tuna fishing fleet, who are a major supplier shark fin to Chinese markets. Whilst Taiwan is a beacon of democratic and progressive values in Asia, it is allowing its unsustainable and often crime-ridden fisheries sector to rape and pillage our ocean with impunity. This must stop. Taiwan needs to show leadership in environmental protection and must quickly clean up its act as regards its sleazy shark fisheries and trade sectors.”

During our investigation, Shark Guardian also found evidence of Taiwan-based online retailers selling fins of endangered species of shark in contravention of local and international law.

According to WWF, a third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, yet fishing and trading in unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, but environmentally destructive, enterprise for Taiwanese companies operating out of Kaohsiung.

Brendon Sing, Co-Director of Shark Guardian said “Clearly more must be done to protect sharks globally. There are over 500 known shark species with only a handful of them listed under CITES. Even then, CITES listed sharks are still traded illegally where monitoring and enforcement lack any power and expose loopholes in the system. As long as this continues, there is no real protection for any shark species regardless of CITES listing or not. Taiwan must be responsible and take positive action in response to this report.”

Shark Guardian believes that excessively large profit margins are the main reason why Taiwan has never acted to rein in its shark fisheries and trade.

Shark Guardian hopes that Taiwan can apply its progressive values towards preserving the marine environment by imposing a comprehensive ban on the physical and online selling all species of shark fin in Taiwan. Such a ban would go above and beyond what is required under international law, and Taiwan’s domestic laws can be changed with public support.

For more information about Shark Guardian visit their website by clicking here.

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Competitions

Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

Price NOW from just £975 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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