In July 2021, an expedition was mounted to locate, document and identify unknown shipwrecks off the east coast of Scotland.
Over the course of six days, a team of GUE and Project Baseline UK divers explored sites in the North Sea, conducting baseline surveys through video, photography, physical asset recovery and photogrammetry models.
The objective was to assess the condition of each wreck and document key features in an effort to identify the name and origin of the shipwrecks.
The selected marks all lay within a depth range of 50 to 70m. Owing to the planned bottom time on each dive the team made use of Closed Circuit Rebreathers, which advantageous because of the gas logistics involved. The dive teams were each assigned to one of 3 tasks, photo collection, photogrammetry, and data collection on key wreck identifying features. The photogrammetry surveys in particular provided an invaluable baseline model from which to progress future identification efforts, as well as monitoring future degradation of the wrecks. These models can be seen below.
Sketches were drawn to provide orientation of key features on the wreck sites. Any unknowns or further questions raised from this will be used to direct further investigation at a later date. The intention is to continue documentation, and hopefully secure positive identification, of each of these wrecks in the future. The next efforts of this project will be to develop the team’s survey and data collection skills, and to implement these on other unknown wrecks in the North Sea during further project weeks.
The dive team on the project consisted of nine CCR divers with varying levels of project experience. Different skill sets were brought by each member of the team, including photography and photogrammetry, these complemented the generic diving skills used to take baseline measurements for recording and sketching of key identifying features.
Over the course of the week one wreck was successfully identified through the recovery of the ship’s bell and search parameters were narrowed down on four other wrecks. The project demonstrated the effectiveness of well organised dive teams, with clear and achievable objectives outlined for each dive.
Check out the SS Grenmar video here.