The Royal Navy has announced today the discovery of the German submarine U-106. The vessel from the First World War was already localized in October 2009 by a Dutch naval vessel. The news is only now made public because the information had to be verified first by the German authorities and should be upheld whenever possible survivors to have been informed.
In October 2009 the hydrographical survey vessels Hr. Ms. Snellius found on 40 miles north of Terschelling an unknown object. The Dutch navy ship was trying to map out routes at that time. With the discovery of the suspected shipwreck was the hope back that the since June 18, 1940 missing Dutch submarine O-13 had been found. This prompted a series of research missions in process.
When mapping the routes over the Frisian Islands, the first contours of a submarine became visible. Photo: Ministry of Defence
Firstly the mine hunter Hr. Ms. Maassluis examined in December 2009 the site at 40 meters depth with its remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the Seafox. It provided the outlines of a submarine and two months later, in February 2010, did Hr. Ms. Hellevoetsluis a comprehensive attempt with a diving team and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Remus. Divers from the Navy Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group recovered a cylindrical air tank of 300 by 44 inches, used to dive and rise to the surface.
In the spring of 2010, divers from the Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group recoverd a large air tank from the submarine. Photo: Ministry of Defence
The air cylinder was fitted with a brass plate with the serial number and submarine number. It turned out to be the German U-106, perished during the First World War. Captain-lieutenant Jouke Spoelstra, expedition leader of the identification project said: "These finds always happen by chance. A dozen years ago, a ship of the hydrographic service passed the same spot but than the submarine was still covered by a layer of sand."
After German experts confirmed the discovery, began the search for relatives of the submarine's crew. This was recently completed after which the German authorities gave permission to publish the discovery. Spoelstra: "The ship will stay on the seabed and is an official war grave now. There's a possibility that a memorial ceremony will take place at sea, but that happens only at the initiative of relatives.