The Naval Service has been ordered to remove mines from a German U-boat on the Cork coast amid fears that unauthorized divers may trigger an explosion on the submarine, which is lying close to an underwater gas line.
The Naval Service has inspected the wreck of the UC42 on a number of occasions and recently discovered that seals it had put on the submarine had been tampered with. Unauthorized divers are suspected of having gained access to the site. (Irish Examiner)
The UC42 was a World War 1-era German mine-laying submarine, most likely lost to one of it’s own mines while placing mines outside of Cork harbor. She wasn’t attacked, the British Navy was only alerted to her presence upon spotting a spreading oil slick in the harbor.
After lowering a hydrophone, the British could hear “hammering” and “turbine-like” noises, likely from surviving crew aboard the stricken submarine. Unwilling to take any chances, they instead dropped a marker buoy … and then a depth charge. Bubbles and more oil floated to the surface.
Despite hearing no sounds, a second depth charge was dropped. Divers went to inspect the wreck the following day, reporting a sunken u-boat with a missing stern, sunk by her own mines.
Rediscovered in 2010 in just 80 feet of water, she quickly became a popular diving site, despite the danger of her still-active explosives. A 2014 effort to remove the mines was successful, and she remains a popular destination for adventurous divers.