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Project SS "Pionier"

SS "Pionier" – the wreck

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Using an echo sounder the maximum depth was measured 122 meters (372 FSW) and the minimum depth to 98 meters (299 FSW). The wreck is lying in a NW - SE direction. The dives didn’t reveal anything about to which direction the bow was pointing. The part of the wreck, that was examined, was lying with a slight list at about 30. Again it wasn’t established to which side the wreck was listing or if it was only a part of or the entire ship that was situated as observed.
Diving conditions
Visibility in the water was excellent during the dives. On the wreck the visibility was about 10 meters. Due to the sun it was possible to use ambient light to a depth of 80 meters (244 FSW). Beyond this depth it became completely dark and orientation was only possible by the use of powerful torches. Not surprisingly the bottom was consisting of mud and silt.
As only a few of the 64 planned dives were performed the diving team did not find time to examine the entire wreck. By comparing the observations with photos of the ship the team was able to positively confirm that the dives had been performed in the bow section of the wreck.
The wreck was in fairly good conditions. All damage to the wreck appeared to be a result of time and the fact that the ship was torpedoed. Though only examined briefly by the diving team the dives revealed a very interesting wreck with lot of possibilities in store.
In all, the project was a great experience to the diving team and a big success.
On the diving and documentation we didn’t manage to get the information that we planned. This was a caused by the weather, which did not allow us to do more dives. In only two days the team conducted 8 dives to the wreck, this was 15 % of the planned dives. The dives were conducted without any incidents and are something to be very proud of.
The observations made didn’t give us any positive identification about, where on the wreck the dives were made. We do still believe that it was in the forepart of the wreck, but future dives will clarify this and bring the big picture of the wreck.
Obviously the few dives wasn’t able to bring answers to any of the historical questions about the way of sinking, the cargo of military objects and other exciting issues. To solve these questions and to bring answers to them will of course be targets for future dives on the wreck.
We were unable to do the video recordings with the umbilica system on hand. Using an umbilica system in more than 100 meters of water, was more, than we were able to handle safely. Therefore we changed the setup and on the last dives we used only handheld video cameras. A lot of video was recorded on the wreck.
After 10 months of planning and performing the Project SS "Pionier" the project team left the site on a hot summer evening on the 11th July 1999. The wreck is still down there waiting for our next expedition and believe me, we will be back !

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