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Battle of Convoys Project or How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

Italian underwater explorer Mario Arena and his team spent the summer locating and documenting 10 wrecks from the Battle of Convoys near the Pelagie Islands in southern Italy in the southern Mediterranean Sea. Here’s what they found!



by Mario Arena

Header photo by Claudio Provenzani. The port side light of the MS Lago Tana.

Unloading 1.5 tons of equipment from our “everywhere” diving van, back on our base at Favignana Island, marked the end of the 2019 campaign of the Battle of Convoys project, our tenth campaign based in Lampedusa island since the beginning of 2006.

The bow of the MS Lago Tana, sunk by allied bombers and torpedo bombers on November 20, 1942. Photo by Claudio Provenzani.

The purpose of the project, which was run in collaboration with the Soprintendenza del Mare of Sicily, is to locate the wrecks of the Battle of Convoys and document them in different forms. One of the main goals is to create and collect as many documentary materials as possible in order to promote a multi-media exhibition dedicated to the intense and dramatic events of WWII Battle of Convoys in the Mediterranean. We hope that fascination with the wrecks will attract and raise public interest.

In the three weeks of this year’s campaign, we were able to accomplish four multi-day excursions onboard an 36 ft/11 m fishing boat and spent 10 days on the high seas of the Central Mediterranean.

Besides the fascinating details of their cargo and machinery, all these wrecks feature an astonishing amount of marine life, making the dives on them even more enchanting, special, and unique.

Team: Davide Dal Molin, Peter Brandt, Brian Schreuders, Josef Chroust, Jin Hui, Caterina De Seta, Keith Kreitner, Nelson Marciano, Marcello Iacca, Simone Castellini, Claudio Provenzani, Federico De Gado, Piero Labò, Chicco Spaggiari, Mario Arena

Special thanks to:

SOPRINTENDENZA DEL MARE and Department of Sicilian Cultural Heritage – Agrigento, 


Mario Arena is an avid underwater explorer; his passion for naval history, his research, and activities have yielded the location and identification of many historical shipwrecks. Mario has also organized and led a number of projects in collaboration with Italian and Croatian archaeological authorities. Mario is an Instructor Evaluator for GUE.


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