ST. PETERSBURG, August 4 /TASS/. The St. Petersburg Club of Submariners and Navy Veterans has asked Swedish submariners for help in retrieving a World War One Russian submarine — the Som — found off the Swedish coast some time ago.
"We asked our Swedish colleagues to influence the situation, including through creation of favorable public opinion," the club’s head Igor Kurdin told TASS on Tuesday.
Now that divers have proven that the wreckage belongs to the Som submarine that sank on May 10, 1916, the rules of international maritime law should come in force. They say that no actions can be taken with regards to the submarine, including its recovery from the seabed, without Russia’s consent," Kurdin went on to say.
According to Kurdin, the sub could become a wonderful and unique exhibit of the Central Museum of Russian Navy.
"For the moment, there is only one submarine of this class — the Holland — displayed in a museum in Portsmouth, Britain," Kurdin stressed.
Russian submariners believe that the relatively small size of the Som submarine and its water displacement under 120 tonnes will not make the recovery operation unique.
The St. Petersburg Club of submariners has received a list of the Som submarine crew from the Central State Archives of the Russian Navy. It contains the names of 2 officers and 16 sailors of lower ranks. Russian submariners suggest inscribing their names on the walls of the Maritime Cathedral in the port town of Kronstadt, located on the Gulf of Finland. The church is a memorial to all Russian sailors who have ever died for their Motherland.
"It is impossible to bury the sailors’ bodies after all these years. But a maritime and church custom allows burying a coffin with a capsule of sea water taken at the wreck site. It can be done at the Serafimovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg which has long become a cemetery for sailors," Kurdin said. He also suggested unveiling a monument to the submarine’s crew at the same cemetery.
The St. Petersburg Club of Submariners was created in 1994 as a voluntary association of submarine fleet veterans with an aim to help Navy officers and retired officers and their families. The club has more than 2,800 members in Russia, the CIS states and 25 foreign countries and maintains ties with foreign organizations of sailors in Britain, the United States and France.