Russian submarine found on Baltic sea bed near Swedish coast

Discovery could be vessel sunk in 1916 with loss of all crew.

Swedish divers have discovered a foreign mini-submarine, presumably belonging to Russia, at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

According to the company Ocean X Team, which carried out the search for the vessel, the 20-meter long, 3.5-meter-wide submarine is said to have been found off the Swedish coast by means of a remotely operated underwater vehicle.

“It is unclear how old the submarine is and how long it has been lying on the sea bed, but the Cyrillic letters on the hull indicate that it is Russian,” Ocean X Team reported in a press release.

The submarine has no visible damage and all the hatches are closed. In this regard, Ocean X Team believes that the crew of the submarine perished.

In October 2014 there were reports that the Swedish navy had identified the presence of a suspected Russian submarine in the waters of the Stockholm archipelago. 

Although Swedish authorities spent about 20 million krona (almost $3 million) trying to hunt down the submarine, the operation was unsuccessful, and the Swedish military were able to confirm only the intrusion of a foreign vessel.

However, the divers who have discovered the wrecked submarine believe that their finding has no connection with the October 2014 incident. One expert suggested that the divers had come across a submarine named Som (“Catfish”), which sank in 1916, Swedish English-language news publication The Local reported.

The 20-meter submarine Somwas built in 1901 in the United States and was originally called Fulton. In 1904, the submarine was bought by Russia; Som was brought on a steamer to the Nevsky factory where it was upgraded, and then transported by rail to Vladivostok and made combat-ready for participation in the Russian-Japanese War. In 1905, Som made several sorties.

Submarine Fulton on the dock, later Som in the Imperial Russian Navy, 1901-1904. Source: Wikipedia.org

In July 1915, the submarine was taken back to Petrograd, where it became part of the Baltic Fleet. On May 10, 1916, Som was lost during a military campaign after colliding with the Swedish steamer Ingermanland.

According to the testimony of the ship's captain, the submarine, which was at periscope depth, did not notice that the ship had stopped moving and crashed into it. According to another version, Ingermanland deliberately rammed a Russian submarine when it attempted to stop the ship for inspection.

The entire crew of the Som – 18 people under the command of Lieutenant Khrisanf Bugurayev – perished in the incident.

Information about the discovery has been passed to the Swedish Ministry of Defense. Representatives of Ocean X Team said that they intend to organize another expedition to further explore the wrecked vessel.

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