Ocean X Team and Ixplorer found the Russian Empire submarine SOM, sunken on Swedish waters in 23 May 1916.
The goal was to salvage the submarine, take care of the remains of the 18 submariners and then bring the submarine to Russia as a gift. The relatives to the crew supported our project all the way.
The budget of 7 million Euros were promised by some Russian business men who wanted to do something good for their country. It could have been a very interesting and educating project, a project between our countries, Sweden and Russia, carried through by ordinary people, the people for whom the politicians work…
But we were betrayed by our own government. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put us out in the dark. They have secret meetings with Russian delegations consisting of naval officers and other Russian authority persons. The Russian Minister of Defence has given the Russian Geographic Society, a paramilitary organisation, the mission to negotiate with the Swedish authorities regarding a salvage of SOM. The president for the Geographic Society is the Russian Minister of Defence. The person in charge from the Geographic Society is employed by the Ministry of Defence as the vice director for under water activities.
The Swedish government has allowed Russian Ministry of Defence employees onboard Swedish coast guard vessels to visit the submarine in a military sensitive area on Swedish waters. The Swedish coastguard has done what they can to keep the expedition with the Russian delegation as secret as possible. The expedition was approved by a Swedish minister who has now been forced to leave the government due to other causes. Six Swedish authorities and three ministers has been involved.
Insider information from the Russian Geographic Society tell that the Geographic Society asks for 25-30 million Euros from Russian tax payers money for their salvage plans. We could have done it for 7 million Euros, and SOM would have been lifted on the 23rd May 2016, on the day one hundred years after it sunk.
However, our salvage plans were stopped on a political level. We did anyway held a ceremony at sea on the 23 May 2016 with relatives from Samarkand. 18 white lilies were thrown in the sea by the relatives, a Russian orthodox priest held a mass. There were no participations from neither Swedish or Russian officials despite that we had given them the chance to participate in our ceremony. However, a Russian delegation were on a meeting in Stockholm with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 20th of May 2016, just three days before the ceremony! it seems like they did not care to honour the 18 submariners. One can wonder what’s in their minds…!?
We have appeal to the president of Russia to recognize us, Ocean X Team and Ixplorer, as the rightful finders of SOM and those who should be able to carry through the salvage project at first hand. The relatives of the 18 submariners has made a similar appeal to the president.
We have also informed the president that we can do it without any Russian taxpayers money, even though we have engaged one of the world’s most renowned salvage companies. In the end, the goal is the same, to bring SOM to a museum in Russia.
Ocean X Team, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OceanXteam/
Russian Submarine (SOM) Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/submarinesom/