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Monday, 18 June, 2001, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Wartime shipwrecks surveyed
The warship Koln
The ship Koln suffered extensive damage to the aft hull
The best images ever taken of seven major warship wrecks have been produced using innovative marine survey techniques based on multibeam sonar.

Heriot-Watt University's Orkney-based department of civil and offshore engineering and international centre for island technology conducted a four-day survey of the wrecks of the German High Seas Fleet in the Scapa Flow.

The fleet was scuttled on 21 June 1919 - but the ships, each more than 200 metres long and up to 25,000 tons, remain in an 8km square area of flat, muddy seabed, in a depth of between 30 and 50 metres.

The images show the warship Bayern lost four gun turrets when it overturned during salvage work, while the vessel Koln suffered extensive damage to the aft hull.

four gun turrets
Bayern lost gun turrets
The information collected will be used to support ScapaMAP, a research initiative to promote better management of the archaeological and historical heritage resources submerged in Scapa Flow.

Heriot-Watt's diving officer Bobby Forbes said the remains formed a unique underwater record of one of the great periods of British and German maritime history and represented an archaeological and historical resource of "unrealised potential".

He added: "The images can now be used by divers to assess sites.

"This project has been successful due to the efforts of everyone involved.

In addition to Heriot-Watt University, the Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, USA, Reson Offshore Ltd of Aberdeen and the Archaeological Diving Unit of the University of St Andrews were involved in the survey.

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See also:

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Shipping boost for Scapa Flow
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