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Wreck diving on the Adriatic Sea
Wreck diving on the Adriatic Sea

Discovering the shipwreck of Baron Gautsch

Istria – Venice

By boat & bus

Wreck diving on the Adriatic Sea

Discovering the shipwreck of Baron Gautsch

Rugged coast and breathtaking natural beauty are not the only things the Adriatic Sea offers for divers. Wrecks of sunken ships and airplanes also wait on the sea floor to be discovered, one of them is the ’Titanic of the Adriatic’, a misguided steamer called Baron Gautsch.

This popular wreck rests west of the Brijuni islands and is only advised for experienced divers (approaching this shipwreck is allowed only through diving centres that hold a special permit).

Named after a minister and later the prime minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the steamship Baron Gautsch belonged to the Austrian Lloyd shipping company. Until the outbreak of WWI, holidaymakers travelled on it from Trieste to the Dalmatian coast. From the summer of 1914 it was used to transport troops and war refugees. On its last journey, on the 13th August 1914 the boat transported evacuated civilians and some tourists from Kotor to Trieste. At 11 am Baron Gautsch departed from the port of Veli Lošinj and about 4 hours later stroke a mine laid just a few minutes before by an Austrian mine laying ship.

The ship sunk very fast, in six minutes. At least 177 passengers were drowned or killed in the burning oil that spilled from the tanks. 159 persons were rescued by the boats Csepel, Triglav and Balaton that hurried to help from the port of Pula. As well as the tragedy of Titanic two years earlier, the story of Baron Gautsch was due to human errors and a sequence of tragic coincidences.

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