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Czech divers may have discovered WW1 submarine

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Prague/Vlora, Albania, Sept 30 (CTK) – Czech divers are likely to be the first to have reached the wreck of the Austro-Hungarian submarine U16 in Albania, but another plunge is needed to confirm the discovery, members of the Czech Diving Team told journalists on Saturday.

The submarine sank under unclear circumstances on October 16, 1916. This was probably due to its fight with the Italian destroyer Nembo after which the Italian steamer Bormida rammed it.

The Czech Diving Team is comprised of divers, historians and documentary film makers.

They dived to the wreck, located some 60 metres under the surface of the Ionian Sea, on Friday. They made photos, films and measurements.

They subsequently compared their findings with the plans they found in the archives and with historical photographs, agreeing that this was the U16 they were looking for.

In addition, they probably came across Nembo’s wreck. This is to be confirmed by another, controlling plunge.

“There are certainly two crafts,” one member of the expedition said.

The expedition was preceded by protracted talks with Albanian authorities. They eventually gave a go-ahead to the project and provided the Czech divers with the coordinates of the wreck.

A representative of the Coast Agency was with the Czech team when comparing the plans of the submarine with the facts they uncovered under the water surface.

The submarine U16 was constructed in 1915. It was to protect the Austro-Hungarian coastline and to fend off attacks by hostile ships.

It was commissioned on October 6, 1915. Next year, a French destroyer twice attacked it, but failed.

The Czech Diving Team has taken part in a number of expeditions. It deals with the sunk vessels associated with Czech history.

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