Lake Van: Sunken Russian ship found – Photo

A 40-meter-long sunken ship has been found during underwater research in Lake Van in eastern Turkey.
The research has been carried out for a year by the Lake Van Underwater Research Association (VANSAD), including underwater photography director Tahsin Ceylan and his team.


Speaking to members of the press on Akdamar Island, the site of a historical Armenian church, Ceylan noted that Lake Van was located on a tectonically sensitive region.

He said they tried to find the sunken ship after learning about it.

“During a boat tour, the late father of one of our friends, Cumali Birol, told him there was a sunken ship lying at the bottom of the lake. Birol showed us the exact place his father indicated and we made a comprehensive research with divers in the team there,” Ceylan said.

He added that they had found the 40-meter sunken ship off the coast of the Çanakdüzü village in Bitlis’ Reşadiye district.

“‘Akdamar’ is written on the ship and ‘Akdamar-Tatvan’ is written on its deck. It is believed that it is a Russian ship that sank during a storm in 1948. Our research revealed that three cargo ships were built here during the earlier Russian invasion. These ships were used for the transportation and transfer of ammunition. After the Russians withdrew from the region, one of the ships burned and sank and two were lost. This ship was used by the Maritime Lines for dry cargo and animal transportation. It must have hit the rocks during a storm while carrying sheep and sank,” Ceylan said.

According to the research team, the ship is relatively undamaged and all of its sections, including the wheel house, remain intact.

“The ship could carry cargo up to 200 tons and its stern is 23 meters deep,” Ceylan noted.

He also said it was the first time a sunken ship has ever been found in Lake Van and suggested it could contribute to developing diving tourism in the lake.

Birol said his family was involved in fishing and ship production in the past, and his father noted the flagstick of the ship sticking out of the water.

“We did not visit the region after that day but we knew the exact place of the ship, which we unearthed during this research. The ship is still as intact as it was the day it sank. I hope we will now be able to find other sunken ships,” he added.


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