Δευτέρα, 23 Μαΐου 2016

Lena Tsopouropoulou: The Greek woman who photographed the wreck of the "Britannic", the Titanic's sister ship

The Britannic as a hospital ship
CREDIT National Maritime Museum

The Titanic is a shipwreck that has attracted the interest of millions of people worldwide for over 100 years, since her sinking back in 1912.

Read the Greek version here:

Few are aware though that her sister ship the Britannic, sunk during WW1 in the Aegean Sea, Greece, on November 21st, 1916, with the loss of 30 persons out of the 1065 people on board and is now resting on the seabed in almost perfect condition.

A sonar profile of the Britannic, as she rests on the seabed

A Greek diving mission brought, from a depth of 120 meters, images from a shipwreck resting in the Aegean for almost 100 years.

The “Greek Woman of the Abyss,” Lena Tsopouropoulou recorded through her lens images of a ship almost 260 meters long.

The strait between Makronissos and Kea islands, just a few miles from the Temple of Poseidon on the southern tip of Attica, is one of the busiest sea passages, since antiquity with a history of 2500 years of navigation.

The “Greek Woman of the Abyss,” Lena Tsopouropoulou

“Victim” of the First World War, the Britannic was retrofitted into a hospital ship and sank after hitting a German mine that had been laid in late October of 1916 by the German submarine U 73 and stayed for decades forgotten until the famous French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau located and identified it in 1975.

Since then, several diving and scientific expeditions have visited the wreck, which is of great interest, both because of its almost perfect condition, almost 100 years after the sinking, and because of its historical and archaeological significance.

Unlike the “Titanic” that dragged more than 1,500 people at the bottom of the sea, the “Britannic” was more… merciful since just 30 people perished with her.

“The Britannic is a major wreck with a great history,” says Mrs. Lena Tsopouropoulou and adds:

“Diving the wreck is a unique experience, the size of the ship left me speechless. It took a while until I started taking pictures”.

Mrs. Lena Tsopouropoulou highlighted the technical difficulties that the project presented: “The conditions are very demanding, both technically and for photography. It is a great challenge to be able to capture photographically such a wreck and to be able to give an overall picture of the ship”.

A scuba diver hovers in front of the Britannic

The “identity” of the Britannic

The “Britannic”, one of three almost identical ocean liners of the shipping company “White Star”, (the other two being the “Titanic” which sank in 1912 and the “Olympic” which was sold for scrap in the 1920s) is synonymous with luxury transatlantic voyages in the early 20th century.

Launched in February 1914

Requisitioned in December 1915

Sank in November 1916

Registered length: 259.80 meters

Gross registered tonnage: 48,158

Cruising speed: 21 knots

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