JC010: Mud volcanoes and submarine canyons


Cruise diary

Day 20: Wednesday 30 May 2007
Position: Latitude 35º, Longitude 6º, Bearing 122º
Weather: Sunny and windy

Gillian writes:

"After a very busy night on deck with the samples from the ROV Isis all the teams were working very hard. Then some exciting news came through - the ship wreck we had heard rumours about was in the vicinity and we had permission from the Department of Transport to take the Isis down and investigate further. Little was known about it, including its name and so this was another ideal opportunity to try out the many attributes of the Isis. Eduard stayed up all night to see the process but I had an interview with Radio Berkshire early in the morning so I asked for a cabin call when the mapping of its outline shape was complete and it was possible to actually see it using the accurate video cameras on the Isis. So at 2am the phone rang and I made my way to the van. There was an eerie quality to the images on the screen. Viewing a ship that sank in 1989 and has been at the bottom of the seabed ever since then has an unreal quality about it. The images were spectacular. Every railing, window and piece of coal, which spilled out as it capsized, were crystal clear. Not many animals have colonised it, if any, because it is so deep. Quite an experience and judging by the looks on the faces of the people in the van and exclamations of appreciation of the amazing images produced by the Isis I was not the only person enjoying the experience. Have a look at them for yourself..."

> Click here to view video clips of the wreck taken by ROV isis


Eduard writes:

"Last night, about 10 pm, nobody wanted to go to bed. The Isis was going down again but in a different location. All the scientists and technicians were looking forward to the new dive because this time it was completely different to the others so far. Two years ago another ship detected, at 35º latitude and 8º longitude (a few miles away from the Carlos Ribeiro), the presence of a wreck. The crew of that ship didn’t have enough time to survey it. Yesterday, the Isis went down to explore that ship for the first time! Everybody was expecting to find out what kind of ship it was, its name and its nationality, and if we were going to see life forms living on it. The wreck was at about 2500m water depth on the seafloor, so the Isis took more than an hour to go down. The first thing to do was a bathymetry survey to know the overall shape of the ship. First, it did a bathymetry 100 meters above the wreck and Andrey processed with his computer a 3D profile. The ship was 210 meters length, 40 meters wide! And we were lucky, because it was not tilted. It was intact and upright! Then, the Isis went further down until it stopped 40 meters above the wreck. The van was full of people. All the crew couldn’t wait for the first image of the wreck, but a second bathymetry survey was necessary to ensure there were no ropes or structures that could damage the Isis. Finally, about 3 am, the ROV went down to catch the first impressions. From nowhere, the front part of a ship suddenly appeared on the screens!  Astonished exclamations flew around the van. It was so impressive. We could see the name on the fore: 'Kumanovo'. We started to wonder what was its nationality. Somebody checked on the Internet. We realised that the ship was Yugoslavian. Built in 1966, and sank in 1889 due to a collision with a ship while carrying coal from Philadelphia!

The Isis got closer and closer. We could see the Kumanovo in detail. Cranes, lamps, metallic structures, ropes, chains, a big propeller on the deck, the anchor… we could even see through some of the windows! It was so close… While I was watching the deck, I wondered about the life on board before it sank nearly 20 years ago.

I can’t find the words… Just have a look at the pictures!"

> Click here to view video clips of the wreck taken by ROV isis

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