Italian Navy Divers Find Wreck from Battle of Genoa
An Italian Navy diving unit known as Gruppo Operativo Subacquei (GOS) has discovered the wreck of a vessel from the Battle of Genoa in 1795.
The battle is known in part as the first major naval engagement for then-Captain Horatio Nelson, who helped take a large French warship out of the fight – the Ça Ira, an 80-gun ship of the line nearly twice the size of Nelson's HMS Agamemnon.
It was an important victory for the British and for Nelson, one of many to come. The battle was part of an effort to prevent the French from retaking Corsica, which the British had captured the year before.
The wreck, located just off the Ligurian coast, is believed to be a tender from the Ça Ira, and was perhaps used by French sailors attempting to escape. Many French muskets were found on board.
The GOS team, operating off of the navy search and rescue ship Anteo, used sonar and a remotely operated submersible to locate the wreck. It was in water shallow enough to permit a dive inspection as well.
Local authorities have issued a protective order preventing any further diving of the wreck unless authorized.
The GOS team also visited and inspected the wreck of the Laura Cosulich, a merchant ship which was sunk by a British submarine in 1941 as she attempted to resupply Italian forces in North Africa. She went down with 5,000 tons of TNT in her hold, and the Italian Navy says that it has made several interventions at the wreck to secure access to the explosives, in order to prevent their recovery and use by organized crime syndicates.
GOS divers inspect the Laura Cosulich