Herceg Novi – Two instructors of scuba diving of CMAS and members of FHS – Association of maritime historians from Austria Franc Mittermayer and Engelbert Afetaler lied last weekend a wreath at remains of Austro – Hungarian battle ship Zenta that on August 16, 1914 sunk French Navy in front of Kastel – Lastva, today Petrovac. Expedition was organized by scuba diving center Marina from Herceg Novi.
“Exploded parts of one enemy gun shell, that exploded in machine room, stopped right steam conductor, killing chief engineer Fridrik Roter as almost all staff in machine room. Both engines became useless. Ship not capable for maneuvering left enemy standing target.
After this crucial hit all at ship felt what is coming. Steam was leaking at all sides in engine room and through holes so that all ship was in cloud. When I saw that the end is near, I ordered that confidential orders and secret codes threw into sea to fire torpedoes and open valves, but they could not be reached. One for there were no more time second that ship for one hit in direction of water line began to sink. Then I ordered to abandon the ship – states in report of master of “Zenta” captain of Frigate Paul Panker.
That report Panker wrote in his command in time while he was Montenegrin prisoner. Battle ship sunk according testifying of its master at 9 hours and 40 minutes. In that war maritime catastrophe died around 170 members of crew.
The sunk ship is 96.8 meters long and lies at depth of 73 meters. It is covered with fishing nets and hooks so that one must be cautious while diving. At the deck are visible guns and deck itself is in bad shape from explosion and fire as of time says instructor of diving Dragan Gacevic from center marina who lead also this action.
“Zenta” is the largest sunk battle ship in Montenegrin waters and is especially attractive for well trained and ready scuba divers with top equipment for it is diving to her using special gas mixture trimix.
Long and troublesome history of this part of Mediterranean can be followed by underwater archeological sites. From Greek and Roman times Adriatic sea is marine connection between Middle east and Europe on what there are lots of historic traces at coast and sea but also in legends.
-According some estimations at Montenegrin sea bed there are around 50 wrecks of ships for which one knows. Mostly are sunk in the First World War and WWII. Unfortunately that “submarine treasure” is not tourist valorized – says Gacevic, adding that most of these locations are unknown to European scuba divers who number 3.2 million.
-Several years ago in neighboring Croatia for tourist diving visited 45000 divers – stress Gacevic, adding that there is in preparation printing of guide book that will mark also archeological sites as tourist destinations, but also “correct some mistakes on sunk ships that are also at web site of state Tourist organization”.
Montenegrin diving tourism most promote this offer through licensed scuba diving centers, tourist fairs as by media and Internet – concluded Gacevic.