Peter the Great's ship discovered in Baltic Sea

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Moscow, July 13 : Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a Russian battleship designed by Peter the Great in Amsterdam and which played a key role in a 1719 victory over Sweden in a war on the Baltic Sea.

According to a report in The St. Petersburg Times, a team including professional archeologists, divers, a film-producer and a cameraman located the 54-gun "Portsmouth" battleship at a 12-meter depth in the waters off Kotlin Island near Kronshtadt last week during final stages of a three-month mission as part of the "Secrets of the Sunken Ships" project.

"We are currently lobbying for an immediate raising of the wrecks to serve both as a museum and as objects for research," said Andrei Lukoshkov, head of the research team, adding that the discovery is unique because the ship, which was designed by Peter the Great, disappeared with another ship, the "London," on the way back to the port of Kronshtadt.

However, pending further studies of the wrecks, the archaeologists are yet to establish if wreckage found near the "Portsmouth" also belongs to the "London."

"We have so many collections that we need to establish a museum of marine archaeology and shipbuilding," said Lukoshkov.

According to Lukoshov, a total of 11 shipwrecks, including the remains of the "Oleg," a cruiser built in St. Petersburg in 1901-1903 but sunk by an English torpedo on July 8, 1919, and those of an aircraft resembling Li-2 model belonging to the First Long Range Aviation Division Guard downed in 1944, have been found during the three-month mission.

Others include unidentified wreckage of a European mast ship, a German boat "Frida Horn" registered at Schlezwig, both tracked to the second half of the 19th century, and a well-preserved earlier version of a mainly iron battleship equipped with rifles.

The recent breakthrough brings to a total of about 30 wrecks of warships discovered in the "Secrets of the Sunken Ships" project. thers include the "Hanhoot," built in 1892, the "Jigit" and the "Haezdnik," both built in 1856, making a total of about 50 wrecks including the merchant and passenger ships in the Gulf of Finland, River Volkhov and Lake Ladoga.

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