Underwater Data Station Mysteriously Dissapears

On last August 2019, a $330,000 underwater observatory weighing 770 pounds on the floor of the Baltic Sea mysteriously disappeared, seemingly ripped from the bottom of the ocean. It is a prohibited area, north of Kiel. No boats - not even local fishing boats - are allowed into the Eckernförde Bay, about 70km (44 miles) south of the Danish border. According to the researchers, the device was too heavy to be dragged by currents or tampered with by sea animals such as a shark or whale.

The Boknis Eck observatory was established in 2016 and was operated by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, a marine research institute located in the German port city Kiel, and the Helmholtz Center Geesthacht, Germany’s largest scientific organization. Various instruments attached to the observatory actively monitored changes in temperature and salinity and tracked concentrations of certain elements in the water.

The German instruments had been measuring seawater quality, including temperature and the levels of salt, oxygen, nutrients, chlorophyll and methane.

"The data we get from it is priceless," said Prof Hermann Bange, head of oceanographic research at GEOMAR, a scientific centre in Kiel.

The observatory sent its final signal to GEOMAR scientists at 8:15 p.m. on August 21. When the divers reached the bottom of the sea last week at the observatory’s location, they found only the torn off land cable. It was completely shredded. Divers only found a torn power cable at the site, 22m (72ft) down and 1.8km (1.2 miles) offshore.

GEOMAR has appealed for any witnesses who might have spotted suspicious activity in the area on 21 August. "Or maybe someone will find parts of the apparatus somewhere on the beach," he said, in a GEOMAR statement (in German).


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