Tuesday , 23 April 2024
Home Global Economy Because of climate change: Wrecks of German warships in the Danube are becoming a problem
Global Economy

Because of climate change: Wrecks of German warships in the Danube are becoming a problem

A sight only seen when the water level is low: one of around 200 German shipwrecks sunk in this part of the Danube in September 1944.

"The one there is the best visible, it mostly floats on the surface and two or three other ships appear below it. The others are mostly always underwater," explains Igor Škodric, a fisherman from Prahovo.

Historian Velimir Miki Trailovic says: "For me, as a man living in Prahovo, the Second World War is still not over."

The sinking of German warships was a tactic used by German Rear Admiral Paul Willy Zieb. On his orders, the German Black Sea Fleet was sunk to keep it from falling into the hands of the Red Army.

"The sinking of the ships had another reason: to block the Danube, the waterway, for other ships to make it as difficult as possible for them to pass through the river area," explains underwater archaeologist Gordana Karovic.

And that is still the case today: it still takes barges two or three hours to leave this part of the Danube. The old wrecks harbor dangers:

"It's very unsafe, very risky, very dangerous. There are several tons of explosives stored there, a ship at low tide passing nine wrecks of 15, 16 tons, and propellers vibrating… we don't know what can happen," says Sascha Markovic, responsible for inland shipping.

"The wrecks have been hampering navigation on this part of the Danube for 78 years. Another attempt will be made to get them out of the water next autumn. A demanding project for which the Serbian government will provide 29 million euros," commented Euronews reporter Natascha Jovanovic.

An attempt was made to salvage the ships 40 years ago – but after explosions that killed several people and a lack of funding, the venture was put on hold. With the help of modern technology, the explosives will first be removed from wrecks from October before they are brought ashore – and enrich Serbia's cultural heritage.

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