A German submarine from World War I is threatening to surface again after it sank 89 years ago. Unterseeboot 33 is lying in shallow waters directly below the world's busiest shipping lane, and it is feared that, unless a salvage operation is launched, passing tankers, cargo and passenger ships could have an unwelcome run-in with the ghostly sub.
The U-Boat is lying in just 77 feet of water on the Varne sandbank, just eight miles from Dover. After hitting a mine on April 11, 1918, she sank with all 28 crew on board. And this is the crux of the problem: U-33 has been designated a war grave, which makes it impossible to just blow the problem out of the water.
The possibility of placing a buoy above the wreck was also mooted, but it was thought to be as useful as "putting a speed hump in the fast lane of a motorway," (the UK equivalent to a freeway, where cars travel upwards of 50 mph) as the Varne Bank area is so congested with shipping.
The current plan is to move the sub gently to deeper waters. A vessel has temporarily been stationed above the U-Boat by Trinity House, the body in charge of British shipping lanes and lighthouses, and divers sent down to recce the wreck. The move is expected to take place in the next few weeks. [Daily Mail]