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MaSS

stepping stones of maritime history

History

The wooden wreck was one of the anomalies detected through a side-scan sonar survey carried out by the Institute of Geosciences at the University of Kiel. The anomaly at a depth of 12 metres was checked by the university's scientific divers on board the RV LITTORINA. They discovered an uncommon type of WWII watercraft, which is associated with minesweeping.

Description

The oblong gap in the vessel's centre and the uncommon length-to-beam ratio helped to identify the wreck as a type of influence sweep colloquially known as Seekuh (literally: manatee), a wooden craft without propulsion, which was towed behind a minesweeper. This influence sweep emulated a ship signature through a magnetic generator, causing the mine to detonate. The 3,7 ton magnetic generator was placed in the aforementioned gap of the vessel. These type of craft were then towed behind as troika at a cable length of ca. 170 metres by a minesweeper, while also a distance was kept between the towed vessels to cover a greater area.

Length39.4 feet (12 m)
Width9.8 feet (3 m)

Status

Despite of the wooden hull, the wreck is in a good state of preservation with no signs of teredo navalis.

Another Seekuh is on display at the Nautineum on the island of Dänholm, an outpost of the German Oceanographic Museum (Deutsches Meeresmuseum) in Stralsund.

References

  • Huber, F. (2014).
    Unterwasserarchäologische, nicht-invasive Prospektionsund Dokumentationsverfahren in schwierigen maritimen und limnischen Gewässern (=Dissertation).
    Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel.
  • Meyer, K. (2004).
    Hochseeminenboote 1939–1945.
    Hamburg/Berlin/Bonn, Mittler.
  • Nautineum.

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