Scappa Flow Salvage Sites Project publishes Phase 2

June 2019 is the centenary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney. This month, the Scapa Flow Salvage Sites Project has published the results of a full survey of the wrecks and debris remaining on the sea bed following the interwar salvage operation.

The German High Seas Fleet was interned at the Royal Navy base Scapa Flow, Orkney at the end of the First World War. Rather than allow the British to make use of the materials, Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter ordered the fleet to be scuttled. Fifty-two of the fleet’s seventy-four vessels were sunk. Forty-four of these were eventually salvaged in an elaborate operation. These wreckage sites are not only a valuable cultural heritage resource but have also become popular recreational dive sites.

The overall aim of the Scapa Flow Salvage Sites Project was to determine what remains of the High Seas Fleet that were salvaged in the years that followed their scuttling. Phase One (2016/17), involved a side scan sonar survey of the main anchorages and other areas thought to have been involved in the salvage process.  Phase Two used divers and ROVs to investigate the side scan anomalies and record each.

Wreckage ranges from huge mast sections complete with spotting tops, searchlights, a diesel engine from a ships boat to smaller items such as gyrocompass remains.

In some cases, photogrammetry models were created.

The full report is now available for public download through the Scapa Flow Historic Wreck website


SMS Dresden 3D wreck viewer screenshot