Seven previously unknown wrecks have been discovered in the vicinity of Saaremaa during hydrographic surveys by the Estonian Transport Authority this year, in addition to the six wrecks found last year. A German vessel found one of the wrecks near the Tip of Sõrve Cape (Sõrve sääre tipp) while carrying out hydrography work to the west of the island of Saaremaa for an undersea power cable to link a planned offshore wind farm, the Estonian TV news channel Aktuaalne kaamera reported.
A detailed image of the vessel initially suggested an American Liberty type cargo vessel, but research by the head of survey Christian Riess showed otherwise. “It could be a German vessel called Iller. It is the name of a river in Germany, which is what they named the vessel built in 1938,” Riess explained.
The German merchant vessel Iller, if that is what this ship is, was sunk by Soviet planes on 9 October 1944. The Transport Authority discovered the wreck this summer, while it had not been added to the shipwrecks map.
Six Hundred Wrecks on the Estonian Seafloor
“The wrecks vary in shape and size, with some of considerable girth. There could be merchant vessels or even warships among them,” said Peeter Väling, head of the Transport Authority hydrography department.
Over the last 22 years, hydrographers have mapped 70% of Estonia’s 36,000 square kilometres of sea, including over 600 wrecks as well as other objects. “We have also found cranes and other such structures, also derricks. We have discovered an interesting object we have dubbed a UFO near Saaremaa. It is not, of course, an unidentified flying object, but a formation of sediment – flat as a pancake and measuring 33 metres in width and 0.8 metres in height. It is near Triigi,” Väling said.