The wreckage of German submarine U486 has been found 240m down, near the town of Bergen in western Norway.
U486 met her demise on 12 April 1945, when she was torpedoed by British submarine HMS Tapir and split in two. The entire 48-man crew died, rendering the downed vessel a WWII war grave.
The issue of what to do with the submarine is still unsettled - the discussion is complicated by environmental safety concerns and the previous discovery of another sunken vessel little more than 2km away, that's been at the centre of debate for a decade.
That is the U864, found in 2003 with more than 65 tonnes of toxic cargo on board, raising contamination fears and causing the Norwegian government to declare a no-fishing zone around the wreckage. While some are calling for the ship to be raised, others believe the safest way to deal with the ecological time bomb is to
|The lost crew of U486|
The potential presence of fuel oil and unexploded torpedoes on the recently found submarine could pose a similar problem, while also raising the possibility of other sunken vessels that have yet to be found nearby.
After its invasion in 1940, Nazi Germany established several naval bases in various ports in occupied Norway, incl.one in Bergen.
What makes the discovery of U486 interesting for historians is that she was one of nine submarines that the Kriegsmarine fitted with an experimental (but very effective) synthetic rubber skin, designed to counter the Allies' asdic/sonar devices. In her short career, U486 sank the Silverlaurel, troopship Leopoldville, and two frigates HMS Affleck and HMS Capel.