Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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HMHS Britannic Wreck to become a Theme Park

The largely unknown sister ship of the Titanic has lain, sunken, in the waters of the Aegean Sea. Sunk by a German mine in 1916, the British hospital ship rests 400ft on the bottom of the Mediterranean, off the coast of the island of Kea, and is considered better preserve than the Titanic itself. However, Greek authorities have now begun plans to bring tourists the closest ever to the wreck of HMHS Britannic, turning it into an underwater theme park.

Greek, Yiannis Tsavelakos, owner of a local diving club, stated that his “dream” was to set up an underwater theme park connecting the Britannic and other wrecks in the Kea Channel. The wrecks include the French SS Burdigala, which went down just days before the Britannic, also after hitting a mine also presumed to have been laid by the German U-73.

Initially designed as a transatlantic liner, the Britannic was utilised as a hospital ship during World War One. Considering the fate of her sister, the Britannic was fitted with more lifeboats, a double hull and extra engine power.

However, disaster stuck on 21 November 1916, whilst transporting wounded soldiers, the vessel sunk 55 minutes after hitting the mine. Only 30 out of 1,065 passengers escaped unharmed and was the largest ship lost during the war.

The wreck was found in 1975 by the French underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, who made a film about it. Although property of the British government, the wreck was sold to author and maritime historian, Simon Mills, in 1996 for £15,000. Due to the wreck’s location, the Greek authorities have classified the site as a war grave. However, in the wake of developing its economic recovery, local authorities have now looked towards developing the site into a potential tourist site. Indeed, Mills had said he had bought the wreck to protect it, but, as always:

“I am interested above all in reconstructing its story and letting the public participate,” he added.



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