Western Flanders Governor Carl Decaluwe says the latest find off the coast of Belgium is “amazing” and “very unique” after the wreck of a German UB II-type submarine was discovered 82-89 feet down on the floor of the North Sea, just off the West Flanders coast. Dating back to World War One, the submarine was found to be in a remarkably well-preserved condition, and the remains of all 23 crew members are likely still inside.

UBII submarine suffered damage to the bow from a mine

According to Decaluwe, the only damage to the submarine was on the bow. Other than that the submarine, commonly known as a U-Boat, was almost completely intact and all its hatches were tightly closed, with most likely all the original crew members still inside.

Researchers believe the damage was caused by the upper deck of the submarine striking a mine. According to researchers the submarine may have become caught up in the cable of the mine, dragging it up towards the surface and leading to it doing the damage, putting the submarine out of action.

The German U-boat is said to be lying on its starboard side with the conning tower still intact, and the periscopes can still be seen. However, two torpedo tubes were reportedly discovered lying on the seabed, separate from the wreck.

Location of the sub being kept under wraps

The BBC quotes Decaluwe as saying in a Tuesday news conference that at present the location of the wrecked submarine will not be revealed. This is to prevent anyone trying to approach the U-Boat, leading to it being damaged or looted.

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However, one unconfirmed report in the Belgian media has stated the wreck is close to the port of Ostende.

Wrecks of 13 of 18 German WWI U-boats found so far

According to a report by Deutsche Welle, around eighteen of this type of submarine were placed with the Flanders Flotilla off Bruges during the war between 1915 and 1918. Their purpose was to disrupt the British trade routes in the North Sea and the English Channel. Thirteen of the U-Boats were destroyed during WWI, and so far authorities have found the wrecks of eleven. However, the latest discovery is said to be the “best preserved” find so far.

According to Decaluwe, the German embassy in Belgium has been contacted about the discovery and arrangements will be made for the proper disposal of the remains of the sailors on board. Decaluwe went on to say this type of UB II submarine normally had a crew of one commander and 22 crew members.