Czech divers have discovered the wreck of an Austro-Hungarian submarine destroyed in southern Albania during World War I. According to the source, the discovery has taken place close to the coast of Karaburun peninsula, southern Albania where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea.
“Austro-Hungarian submarine U16 was destroyed on October 16, 1916, most probably after the collision with the Italian torpedo boat Nembo. After that, the submarine was deliberately crashed by the Italian steamer Bormida,” the Czech embassy in Tirana said in a statement.
The tiny now uninhabited 5.7 km2 island of Sazan, a military base which has been open to tourists since May 2016, and the Karaburun peninsula, form the first and only national marine park of Albania.
The marine park features ruins of sunken Greek, Roman and World War II ships, rich underwater fauna, steep cliffs and giant caves, ancient inscriptions of sailors on shore, secluded beaches, and breathtaking views of the coastline.
According to the source, the Austro-Hungarian submarine, which is 60 meters deep under the waters, was discovered by a Czech diving team of technical divers, historians and documentarians in their second Albania expedition conducted in late September.
The team said there is proof the submarine was built in 1915 and designed to protect the borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as to attack vessels of their enemy.
The Albania discovery came as part of a number of expeditions the Czech Diving Team has carried out dealing with sunken vessels associated with the history of the Czech Republic, part of the former Austro-Hungarian empire.
More and more Czech tourists, known for their passion for Albanian mountains and adventure tourism, have been visiting Albania in the past few years, with regular direct flights linking Prague to Tirana offered during the summer tourist season.
The submarine discovery comes few days after another Austro-Hungarian steamship came to light at the Shkodra Lake in northern Albania.
The discovered ships are evidence to Albania’s traditional relations with former Austria-Hungary and Austria, one of the key allies of Albania from the country’s independence to present-day support for Euro-Atlantic integration.
This is not the first time shipwrecks and other underwater items dating back from ancient times to World War II have been discovered in Albanian waters.