German WWI submarine wreck discovered off the coast of Shetland

The expedition team spotted the wreck eight miles southeast of Lerwick. 
Mrigakshi Dixit
Representational image of German U Boat 534.
Representational image of German U Boat 534.

Paul Adams/Wikimedia Commons 

Divers investigating the coast of Shetland in Scotland discovered a German U-boat from World War One. U-boat is short for "unterseeboot," which translates to undersea boat. 

The wreck was spotted eight miles southeast of Lerwick by the expedition team. 

The divers' excursion was conducted onboard Valhalla's Stromness boat, and they were the first to directly explore its ruins.

The presence of the wreck was first identified in the mid-1980s by scanning technology. Hazel Weaver, the Valhalla's owner, stated that preparing for this expedition took years. 

"This has been known about for a long time, the question was: is this the wreck we thought it was? After three and a half hours of divers being in the water down to 110m (361ft), they came and confirmed yes, this is the UC-55," she told BBC Radio Shetland.

Few such WWI submarines found to date 

According to the BBC, the Royal Navy purposely sank this identified SM UC-55 submarine in 1917.

The report mentioned that the submarine likely stopped functioning owing to "loss of trim." Soon after, two Royal Navy vessels then appeared and opened fire, causing it to sink.

Because details of the damage had been documented in the logbooks of the Royal Navy destroyers that sank the submarine, the divers were able to easily identify this wreck.

One of the divers who was part of this expedition, Jacob Mackenzie, described the location as pitch dark with eerie silence. Sadly, this wreck is also the grave of the submarine’s crew, who were not able to escape from it at that time.  

“Although I believe about 15 of the crew did escape, the rest of the crew of course didn't - so they are still inside and that's very obvious when you're looking around it. It certainly didn't sink by accident. This was wartime and if you haven't been to those depths before you won't appreciate that it's pitch black, it's very quiet, it is quite eerie when you swim around doing this," he told BBC. 

Germany was a pioneer in the naval submarine business and used these types of submarines to help in its war effort throughout the First and Second World Wars. 

Back then, the emergence of such submarines imposed a heavy toll on both merchant ships and military vessels.

Despite their extensive employment throughout the two wars, just four of them are still living. Many of them are now submerged on the sea floor.

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