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HMHS Britannic breakthrough May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.

The number of technical divers visiting the wreck of the HMHS Britannic, the RMS Titanic’s sister, is expected to dramatically increase, following the establishment of an official wreck-access organisation. The Britannic Foundation, a registered charity set-up by the wreck’s UK owner Simon Mills, will now coordinate all access to the wreck which lies at between 82 and 120m off the island of Kea, 40 miles southeast of the Greek capital, Athens.

britannic.jpg  Britannic is a major liner wreck, measuring more than 6m longer than the Titanic, and is regarded as one of the best and most challenging technical dives in the world. The Britannic was lost on her sixth voyage, in 1916 during the First World War in her newly commissioned role as a military hospital ship. Thirty of the 1,062 crew were killed in the sinking when two lifeboats were pulled into the ship’s still-turning port propeller.

The Britannic sank in a busy shipping lane, which previously made applying for a dive licence a difficult process. Greek law is also often more restrictive than that of the UK, particularly where antiquities are involved. Only a small number of technical divers have been granted permission by the Greek authorities to explore the wreck since it was first visited by pioneering French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau in 1975.

The Britannic Foundation has now been granted power by the Greek authorities to issue all licences to dive the wreck. An expedition to survey the wreck in cooperation with the Greek government will take place during the summer.

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