The SS Thistlegorm is arguably one of the greatest wrecks to dive in the world. Since its discovery it has attracted divers from all over the world. The wreck has slowly deteriorated as expected over time however with the increase in divers and boats to the wreck the deterioration has accelerated at an alarming pace.
Boats weighing over 40 tonnes now tie rope or wire mooring lines around anything they can wrap around on the wreck, with the sea conditions often being rough and strong currents this has caused significant damage to the wreck.
The Mission of our team made up of passionate divers is to educate local dive companies and instructors about the damage being caused by improper mooring on the wreck and by divers coming into contact with the wreck for numerous reasons such as poor buoyancy or posing for a photo, this should hopefully slow the deterioration caused by human impact. By slowing down its deterioration we have an ultimate goal to create fixed moorings around the wreck resulting in boats not having to moor to the wreck itself. Find out more:
Port hole metal plating has been peeled away from the main hull as boats use wires to moor through the opening.
When originally discovered by Cousteau the star-board anchor was off in the distance, the anchor chain running off into the blue, sadly some boats wanting to show divers the anchor have moored directly to the anchor dragging it along the seabed, the chain now lies coiled up in a tangled mess and wires wrapped around the anchor itself.
Chain wear as boats moor directly to the anchor chain they move in the swells the causing the links rub together ,the port anchor which is currently in the raised position is dangerously close to being worn through which could result in the anchor dropping severely damaging any boat moored to the chain or worse cause it to sink.
Mooring onto the already unstable port water carrier for the locomotive have over time dragged it closer to the edge of hold no:1 making the port bow corner unsafe to enter.
Winch over Hold No.1
Another part of the S.S.THISTLEGORM is gone. It's a part of the winch over the hold N.1. As you can see from the pictures, the tube is been cut off and the valve has been cleaned of corals and ready to be dismounted. Under the valve is possible to see another part of the tube which has been cut off also.
The mast once stood proud and tall, it is believed the Cousteau cut the mast to avoid the wreck from being rediscovered. Now boats moor to this and other loading beams causing severe damage by using wires and shackles.
Captains cabin is one of the epicenter of most of the mooring damage due to it being the shallowest part of the wreck, all of the walls have been peeled back horizontally now and numerous cuts have been made through the steel sheeting and joists.
Even the locomotive of the SS Thistlegorm is not safe, boats moor to this and the starboard locomotive also.
Where the funnel once stood proud the deck from the explosion has peeled and contorted back on itself. The hole where the funnel came through is now also used as a point to loop a wire and shackle to moor onto the wreck, these wires act as a cheese slicer, slowly cutting there way through the hull.
Light Anti-Aircraft Gun
The smaller light anti aircraft gun armor plated protection has been torn from the gun itself and now rests on the seabed.
40mm Anti-Aircraft Gun
Perhaps the most iconic part of the wreck, with 1000's of photos taken of the 40mm Anti Aircraft gun yet even it cannot escape the thoughtlessness of some. Pictured here is the sadly not the first time a boat has moored directly onto this iconic feature of the Thistlegorm.
The steel beams the once were covered in plating are now just a bare skeleton and frequently are overloaded with wires, shackles and ropes as boats tear this section apart
In the upper level, left side of the wreck damage has been caused to the trucks. This is been caused by someone diving on the wreck and cutting away part of the truck section, we are not sure whether this is a bounty hunter or for scrap metal.
Between holds 1 and 2 is an Albion aircraft refueling lorry this also has not escaped vandalism, you can see that the refueling hoses would have been attached to these taps, all 3 have now been removed!
The Kitchen has also been subjected to vandalism having some of its equipment removed.
Coal wagon for the locomotive also has wires and shackles attached to the roof daily as another easily accessible point for boats to attach to.
Crane used for moving items on the docks, decks and holds, despite being used to lift large weights it is not a sub-substantially strong part of the ship yet it is still used by some boats as a mooring point, the starboard crane is now almost unrecognizable.
Bedford OYC fuel tanks
One of the five Bedford OYC fuel tanks has had its bonnet cut away and engine, we can only assume this is for a bounty hunter or scrap metal.
Water Carrier (Starboard)
The starboard water carrier much like the port one has many boats moor to its buffers and frame work, over time this has dragged it closer to the edge of hold No.1.
Door & Window Frames
Door and window frames offer an easy opening and place to loop mooring lines and wires through. This thin steel plating can been seen flexing on rougher days and in many parts has split due to the movement and cutting actions this creates.
Electrical cables that were shielded and ran in pipe work along the deck and down into the holds have now also been vandalised and removed by someone.