GOGLAND ISLAND, Leningrad Region, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin took a dive in a submersible to the sunken sailing ship Oleg in the Bay of Finland on Monday, July 15.
The Oleg is the biggest screw-driven vessel and the last wooden sailing ship with smoothbore muzzle-loading guns. It sank in 1869 at a depth of 60 metres when it collided with another ship while making complex manoeuvres.
The frigate is being examined under the Marine Glory of Russia project financed by the Russian Geographic Society. The ship will not be lifted but its replica may be created, complete with genuine artifacts recovered from the sunken ship.
Putin said the ship is “in surprisingly good condition”. “It is lying on its starboard side. In fact, it is in very good condition and its name can be seen clearly,” he said.
The president said he was not afraid during the trip but on the contrary felt excited. He admired the divers’ work. “The temperature of the water is just three degrees [Celsius] but they stay down there for a long time. They are unique specialists. Unfortunately they are not here or I would have shaken their hands,” he said.
Putin said the divers managed to get into the ship through its gun ports.
This is not his first underwater trip. Putin earlier made an underwater voyage in Lake Baikal when he submerged to its bottom in a submersible in 2009. In August 2011, he scuba dove in the Taman Bay to see the so-called Russian Atlantis - the submerged part of the ancient city of Fanagoria.
However he admitted that this time his impressions differed from those before. “It’s a different submersible and the impressions are somewhat different. It’s a semi-sphere, thick glass and the perception is different,” he explained.
Besides, there were no objects in Lake Baikal, while here there is a large ship, he added.
Putin said the experience was “interesting” and compared it with time travel. “Very interesting,” he said. “Very impressive… it’s like a time machine and you go into a different time. Interesting.”