Steamboat "Albano" sunken from 77 years, identified in Durres bay by Albanian Archaeologists

Albano steamboat
Albano ship sunken

 A team dedicated in underwater archaeological research at the Tirana Institute of Archeology has identified and clarified these days a part of the story of the sunking of an Italian steamboat near the bay of Durres. Everything happened on January 2, 1941, in the years of World War II, but the story remained a mystery for almost 77 years.

Though there is no data on the location of the sailing vessel used for war purposes, underwater archaeologist Adrian Anastasi and the team he leads for nearly 10 years have been searching the hidden truth under water. This team specializing in the past few years is also working to get to know the historical values of ships sacked during the two world wars, and particularly to discover new ship relics belonging to the ancient and medieval times.

Dr. Adrian Anastasi told to BIRN that from the documents published in Italy about the drowning the "Albano" steamboat, remained unclear with the kind of goods that transported, the location and the causes of its drowning.

Steamboat "Albano" sunken from 77 years,  identified in Durres bay by Albanian Archaeologists

The specialists of the Institute of Archeology, with the technical support of the NOVA diving center, with Denis Nova as instructor in Durrës, have returned to Durres bay, when in the spring of this year dr. Adrian Anastasi fell in the footsteps of the truth, through a 1973 edition of the citizens of Barletta (city south of Italy) lost in the war. In the first pages of this book are clarified the questions of the Albanian archaeologists. Everything thanks to the name of the Italian radioman, missing by the explosion, also is an inhabitant of Barleta. The post-war book also clarifies the ship's explosive load, which was denied in the Italian army's publications.

From the comparison of the documents of the time with the relict of the drowned ship is made possible the identification of the steamboat "Albano" - says Adrian Anastasi, who follows the testimony of the last days of the Italian ship with a military mission on the Albanian coast.

albanian archaeologists underwater

The steamer ship was launched from Brindisi (Italy) on December 14, 1940. Under the war rules along with a "Strombo" tanker, accompanied by a military torpedo-boat and a submarine. After unloading part of the goods with a military destination in Vlora, where the ships stayed for another few days, on January 2, 1941, around 07:00, departed to the port of Durres. On its board, along with the crew of 35 sailors, were also five accompanying soldiers.

According to the underwater archaeologist, the "Albano" steamer was accompanied by the "Katerina" steamer and the "Aretusa" military torpedo-boat, the leader and defender of the three-ship caravan.

9 hours after departing from the southern port of Albania, at the entrance to the naval bay of Durres, a powerful explosion is heard and according to the official version of the time, the "Albano" steamboat crashed with a sea mine on its left, in the middle of the ship, where the coal deposit was located.

Out of this blast five crew members were killed and four were wounded.

Late afternoon of January 2, 1941, the 865-meter-long "Albano" steamboat would be divided into two parts and will be drowned 10 miles from the port of Durres to be discovered after almost 77 years.

The ship built in England in 1918 by the shipyard "Austin S.P. & Son Ltd. ", Sunderland, with its first name "War Arrow 2 ", served in the naval civic companies "TSC- The Shipping Controller (WWI)" in England. Then takes the name "Albano" and passes to "Societa Italiana di Servizi Marittimi" in Italy, "Lloyd Triestino" and "Società Anonima di Navigazione Adriatica" in Venice, Italy. The ship was seized on November 22, 1940 by the Italian fascist regime and would immediately be in service of the Royal Navy.

Iseo ship, twin of Albano
Iseo ship, twin of Albano
About 40 days after started the "military career", the "Albano" was sunk without glory, just like the two identical ships of English production "Iseo" and "Bolsena" were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II.

Documentary records of the time gave the location of the drowned ship to the other side of Durres bay, underlining that it was not loaded - says Dr. Adrian Anastasi, while it is quite the opposite.

According to the official version, the "Albano" has collided with a mine, but there is another version that could be hit by an English torpedo.

The truth remains hidden for several decades - continues Dr. Adriani, according to whom this data along with the encounters that will be made with other documents in the English archives are some of the hypothesis that will be clarified in the coming months.

The research team also has the main objective to build the underwater plan of the site with the aim of better documenting and interpreting the dynamics of the sinking "Albano" that exploded near Durrës on January 2, 1941..
Steamboat "Albano" sunken from 77 years, identified in Durres bay by Albanian Archaeologists Steamboat "Albano" sunken from 77 years,  identified in Durres bay by Albanian Archaeologists Sunday, October 22, 2017 Rating: 5
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