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North Sea sunken WWI U-boat surveyed for first time

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  • World War One
image copyrightMMT/Reach Subsea
image captionThe vessel has remained untouched 50m down on the seabed for over 100 years
A World War One German submarine sunk by a Royal Navy patrol off the Yorkshire coast has been surveyed for the first time.
UC-47 was rammed and hit with a depth charge by HMS P-57 in a surprise attack 20 miles out to sea on 18 November 1917.
Previously it had been regarded as a "lucky vessel" within the German Imperial Navy, archaeologists said.
The sub sank with all hands on board in the attack,
It had been credited with sinking more than 50 vessels in the previous year, according to the team surveying the wreckage.
image copyrightMMT/Reach Subsea
image captionThe survey uncovered evidence of the damage to the vessel
Deep sea archaeological expert Dr Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz, from the University of Southampton, said: "Today the vessel is only marked on the navigation charts as a shipwreck and until now very little was known of the submarine's condition.
"It has been a privilege to be able to explore a wreck in such good condition and have the opportunity to find out more about its past."
Maritime historian Stephen Fisher added: "The day after her loss, UC-47 is reputed to have been visited by Royal Navy divers who retrieved valuable intelligence, including code books and charts.
"Further investigation of historical sources - when access becomes available as lockdown eases - combined with this detailed imagery of the wreck, might enable us to ascertain if she was indeed visited [at the time]."
image copyrightUS National Archives and Records Administration
image captionA photograph of UC-47's sister ship, UC-44
Archaeologists said the scans also showed "the damage she suffered during her sinking".
A large hole indicated an explosion and others parts of the vessel, including a torpedo tube, were scattered around the site, they said.
The survey was carried out on behalf of Tolmount Development as part of preparations for a new North Sea pipeline.
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