SMS Franz Joseph I
After 60 years, combat divers of the Hungarian Defence Forces are to dive into sea again.
They are participating in mapping the wreck of SMS Franz Joseph I, a battle cruiser of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy lying at a depth of 45 meters.
WO Bence Miklós, S/Sgt. Zsolt Horváth, Sgt. Lajos Bíró and L./Sgt. Péter Hollós, the combat divers of the HDF 5th ‘Bocskai István’ Infantry Brigade 24th ‘Bornemissza Gergely’ Reconnaissance Battalion set out for the Adriatic Sea on May 25.
The ship christened “SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I” took part in several sea battles until it was allocated to France after World War I.
It sank at the entry to Cattaro Bay on October 17, 1919 when it foundered during a storm.
The fact that it lies exactly on the Montenegrin–Croatian border makes the exploration of the shipwreck more difficult, so that for several decades, the Hungarian specialists had not received permits for documenting its condition.
It was the staff of Czakó Diver Ltd that took the first photos of the battle cruiser in 2007.
On May 25 the Hungarian divers are to visit the battle cruiser “Franz Joseph I” again.
László Czakó, the leader of the expedition told us that this time they are allowed to swim into the ship to take photos and video footages but they cannot remove anything because Croatian laws give protection to artifacts older than 70 years.
They have such a small window of opportunity to explore the wreck that the only way for them to do a thorough and quick job is by requesting assistance from the divers of the Hungarian Defence Forces who are tasked with underwater security and observation, and carry out other missions to help the documentation process.
In this way, by doing professional work they provide assistance with the detailed exploration of the sunken cruiser’s condition.
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