Santi Find The Eagle – 8th expedition reaps seabed wrecks data
On 31st July 2019 the eighth Santi Find the Eagle team expedition got underway. For the third time the crew set off from the Danish port of Thyborøn, sailing on a 27 m trawler Nemo A which was converted into a fully equipped survey vessel using sophisticated equipment supplied by the company GeoFusion.
The team, which includes specialists from the Maritime Institute in Gdańsk, are searching for the famed Polish World War II submarine ORP Orzel (the “Eagle”) which went missing on her sixth and last patrol which commenced on 23rd May 1940. By 8th June 1940 when she failed to return to Rosyth, where she was based while sailing under the Royal Navy, the ship and her heroic Polish and British crew were declared lost. The story of Orzel’s daring escape from Nazi internment in Estonia in the opening days of the Second World War is inspiring and well known in Poland and beyond.
This time a seven-man unit took part in the search. This was composed of Tomasz Stachura (leader/diver), Dr Benedykt Hac (lead hydrographer), Piotr Michalik (historian and route planner), Karol Jakob and Pawel Wysocki (hydrographers), Lukasz Piorewicz and Marek Cacaj (divers). All members of the team are based in Poland save for Piotr Michalik who lives in London.
The mission this time, focusing on a zone named ‘A3’ in WW2 naval charts and the region of the North Sea close to this, was to test a theory that Orzel sank in the first days of her patrol. The submarine had orders to patrol this area between 24th May and 1st June 1940. The route was based on meticulous research in the archives carried out by Piotr Michalik matched with detailed charts noting the position of known obstacles on the seabed, compiled with the contribution of local fishermen as well as previous survey data.
The expedition took place over nine days at sea and covered 984 nautical miles (1,824 km) using high class hydrographic equipment – a SeaBat 7125 multibeam echosounder, which permits effective sea-floor survey in a wide bandwidth. The search had to be cut short by a few days due to adverse weather conditions. In total 183 points were surveyed and 83 wrecks were located and scanned in fine detail. Most wrecks were clearly visible on the seabed: some were deeply buried. Although the team did not find their long sought-after submarine their work has contributed greatly to the store of valuable data on North Sea wrecks in the area.
The Santi Find the Eagle team will be back in 2020; they are determined find the resting place of Orzel and uncover the mystery of why she disappeared. The hunt for now continues on land with more research and planning.
Santi Find the Eagle is a private foundation, with Gdynia-based Santi, a leading brand in the global dive equipment market, as main sponsor.
If any reader has information that could help in the search please get in touch with the team at: email@example.com
More about the project can be seen at: