Wrecked Russian cruiser Dmitrii Donskoy found

South Korea’s Shinil Group has found the Dmitrii Donskoy, a Russian armoured cruiser ship that sunk near Ulleungdo Island more than 113 years ago.

The stern of Donskoy was first discovered 1.3 kilometres from Ulleungdo Island on July 15, at 09:48.

Dmitrii Donskoy, a first-class armoured cruiser, had sailed the oceans for 20 years, when in May 1905 the Baltic Fleet, the strongest Russian fleet, participated in the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War.

In the Tsushima Strait between Korea and southern Japan, 38 Baltic Fleet ships and 89 Japanese ships met in naval history’s only decisive sea battle fought by modern steel battleship fleets, and the first naval battle in which wireless telegraphy (radio) played a critically important role.

The cruiser was not seriously damaged during the initial fighting and tried to continue on to Vladivostok after the first day’s fighting. She was spotted by several groups of Japanese warships the following day and was badly damaged in the resulting combat. Her captain ordered the crew ashore near Ulleungdo Island and had Dmitrii Donskoi scuttled offshore.

The Shinil Group exploration team, which had prepared the Donskoy excavation, “found two ships of Nuytco’s (Canadian marine exploration company) DeepWorker in the estimated area of sinking on July 14, 2018, and the ship was 100per cent identical to the Donskoy’s sailplan.”

A re-exploration was conducted at 09:48 on July 15, and finally the team found Donskoi and photographed the stern. In addition to the clear sharpness of the stern, there were 203mm cannon and 152mm long-distance guns, a number of machine guns, anchors, two stacks, three masts, wooden decks and armour spotted.

The bottom of Donskoy is about 40 degrees on the slope of the seabed with its stern 380 metres below the water level, and its bow at 430 metres. The hull is severely damaged, however, the upper deck of the wooden hull is almost untouched.

The armour on the side of the hull is also well preserved, while the anchors, guns and machine guns remain in place. In addition, all three of the masts and the two chimneys are broken.


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