Allies revive image of Scapa Flow wreck

June 22, 2001

The submerged history of Scapa Flow is being uncovered through a joint effort by higher education and marine technology.

A survey of the warship wrecks of the German High Seas Fleet, scuttled 82 years ago yesterday, has just been completed. It used techniques based on multibeam sonar to produce 3-D images of the ships and the debris around them.

The survey brings together Heriot-Watt and St Andrews universities with the University of New Hampshire, in the United States, and the Aberdeen-based company, Reson Offshore Ltd.

The survey supports Heriot-Watt's ScapaMAP research initiative to promote better management of the site.

There are no basic maps of the area, nor fundamental data on factors such as sediment and water quality, which can be used to monitor the sites.

Bobby Forbes, Heriot-Watt's diving officer, said: "The naval wrecks of the Scapa Flow form a unique underwater record of one of the great periods of British and German maritime history."

The ships of the German High Seas Fleet were interned in Scapa Flow and scuttled on June 21 1919. The wrecks of seven major warships remain.

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