The Moskva expedition

On May 1-9, 2011 a group of Ukrainian, Russian and Romanian GUE divers organized an expedition to the Black Sea. The goal of the expedition was to find the wreck of the Soviet leader of destroyers, Moskva, in order to look closer at the history of the military action in the Black Sea during WWII and understand what really happened that early morning on June 26, 1941. The expedition was a great success. On day 2, the GUE divers discovered the wreck with the help of side scan sonar, and the first 2 divers made an exploratory dive. Over the next couple of days the 4 GUE divers made 2 dives to the Moskva wreck for additional exploration. Moskva rests at depth of 45 meters along the bottom with the 7 m above the bottom with a list of 30 degrees onto her port side. The wreck is in good condition from the stern to the place where the explosion happened. The divers documented the wreck for 2 days and while the stern part was in good condition, the bow section was not seen anywhere close to wreck. However, Moskva was able to be 100% identified as it had the same main artillery calibers (130mm), same torpedo tubes and antiaircraft guns. Preliminary research showed that presumably the destroyer hit the mine at the Romanian mine barrage S-10.

The expedition has generated unexpected interest. After the expedition, Romanian partners from the Respiro Diving Society organized a press conference in Bucharest. Thanks to the Reuters agency, the news about finding the location of the lost Soviet destroyer has spread around the world, and even made it to the Russian TV Channels. A little later, the representatives of the TVC Television Channel who have become interested in this story decided to make a documentary segment dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Constanta raid, and the Navy Headquarters concurred.

June 26, 2011, the day of the raid’s 70th anniversary, a large Russian Marine Corps ship, Yamal, entered the port of Constanta. Flower wreathes were lowered into the water at the site where the Soviet ship was lost, and commemorative fireworks rumbled. Mikhail Reva, the Russian Federation Consul General in Romania, the Military Attaches of the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, as well as the Black Sea Fleet Chaplain arrived to honor the memory of the perished sailors. By the Navy Command’s initiative, the entire expedition team was invited on board of the Marine Corps ship Yamal.
It was a sad day; exactly seventy years before, the destroyer leader Moskva perished in those waters. The divers plan to hold the second expedition to the wreck “Moskva” in May 2012, hoping to find the missing bow part and investigate the cause of the explosion.

The expedition members:
Mircea Popa – a skipper/diver (Respiro Diving Society)
Claudiu Misa – scouting/shore support (GUE)
Sergey Ivchnko – sonar operator/diver (GUE)
Svetlana Ivchenko – scouting/shore support (GUE)
Julia Golosiy – scouting/diver (GUE)
Philip Yakymov – head of the project/diver/underwater cameraman (GUE)

General parameters of the Moskva:
Water displacement: standard – 2,030t; full load– 2,693t (Leningrad class); full load– 3,080t (the rest)
Length: 122 m (between perpendiculars); 127.5m (at most)
Beam: 11.7 m (at most in mid-section)


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