VINCENZO GIOBERTI destroyer
On 18 December 2015 the DAEDALUS catamaran identified with its own instruments a wreck that, inspected by the PLUTO PALLA, turned out to be the bow section of the destroyer Vincenzo GIOBERTI, sunk in 1943 by the English submarine HMS SIMOOM.
The wreck lies lying on the right side at a depth of 595 meters south of Punta Mesco.
"DUAL USE" MARINE MISSION
Transylvania , Battleship Roma, Crispi and Saracen … and then? What's the next goal?
This has always been the question of curious enthusiasts after every discovery of mine, a question to which I never knew what to answer. Something more important is always expected than the result obtained at the moment, but after the battleship ROMA there are no other more important wrecks, at least within my reach.
Here in Liguria near my base in La Spezia, I had been told by Marshal Lenzini of the Carabinieri that someone was looking for the English submarine HMS Usurper. So I went to look on the internet and found that the hypothesized sinking area was just outside the Portofino promontory, one of the areas I often frequent for pleasure with the DAEDALUS. I inquired about the history of the events, I contacted a group of historians from the Aidmen blog, in particular Platon who from Canada is very well versed in archival research and is a mine of news. It appeared that the Usurper had been hunted by a German corvette which claimed the sinking but without incontrovertible evidence. The Usurper could also have gotten lost on the mines near the Capraia island. Skeptical, I made a couple of sonar passes in the area, without conviction and without results.
However, I learned that the wreck of the destroyer Vincenzo GIOBERTI also existed in these waters. From an internet source in 2012 a group of divers found a ship wreck to which they initially attributed the identity of Gioberti but immediately afterwards recognized as a merchant ship. Then Ugo Gerini blew Gioberti's name in my ear as a possible target.
I inquired about its history, so well told here by Ugo, that it gave an estimated position off the Punta del Mesco, even closer to my base. This wreck attracted me for two reasons: first, I could not leave a rather important wreck on the corner of my house unknown for the war events experienced. Second, because its discovery would have allowed me to have a gym where I could easily go to exercise with my devices.
So: at work!
With the usual sonar of the DAEDALUS I started sweeps widening in a spiral from the official point. A first mission in late October ended without results except for a tenuous suspicious contact. The first MULTIPLUTO was being completed in the company and I felt the need to carry out a sea test to go out and identify that contact. Usual procedure, DAEDALUS in dynamic positioning on the point, launch of the vehicle ballasted with the usual stone, once it reaches the bottom at 600 meters search for contact with the vehicle's sonar. The Multipluto was behaving pretty well, the contact appeared 50 meters away with an intensity and a shape that excluded the wreck, but while we were there it was worthwhile to approach and see with the camera: result? An abandoned trawl with all the steel cable laid on the bottom in tight scrolls. Good testing for Multipluto but no Gioberti .
In December there was a good weather period and I went out again to extend my sonar searches with the help of my new sailor in education and training, Davide. It took a couple of hours to detect two significant echoes, the most evident one was certainly a wreck, the other could be compatible with the stern section of the Gioberti.
We went to sleep in the small bay of Levanto to be ready to dive the PLUTO PALLA the next morning. We had to go out early because the weather was expected to get worse. So on December 18th in the morning, the usual routine, the Palla on the bottom approaches cautiously and begins to see the hull lying on its side, the right, I find the anchor, I walk the gunwale towards the stern, coming to discover some portholes on the side of the hull and then to glimpse the dashboard with overlapping rangefinders. Without any doubt it is the wreck of the Gioberti , but above the bridge there is a sheet metal not present in the vintage photographs, it looks like an added splinter guard. The wind strengthens, the propeller of dynamic positioning is giving its maximum and can no longer hold the Daedalus still, the wind is taking it away. Then release the start ballast boulder the motorized roller to rewind and lead the guidewire pulls aboard the Pluto ball. We discovered GIOBERTI and so the usual process begins: the first to be informed my wife Gabriella who encourages me from a distance always excited, then the formal communications to the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and to the Navy to which the wreck belongs, finally Ugo with the recommendation to stay good for a moment, otherwise he would be able to come out with a new book the next day… and his friend Corrado a journalist with the same recommendation to wait for authorization from the institutions.
Time passes but there are no reactions.
Meanwhile, I am called by the Navy to help with an important recovery intervention in Taranto. The PLUTO PALLA descends to a depth of a thousand meters, finds and hooks the important object to which the Navy holds a lot and brings it to the surface despite a mass of half a ton.
An atmosphere of satisfaction is created in the High Commands who propose me a "dual use" mission on the Gioberti site to use a military ship for civilian purposes.
At the time we have the second Multipluto under construction in the company and I suggest waiting for it to be completed in order to use it in this mission.
We arrive on April 6, 2016. I board
the GAETA ship, a modernized minesweeper, all my equipment of the Pluto Palla and the Multipluto. I install and verify that everything is working correctly.
The next day at 7 am I am already on board.
Effervescent atmosphere. Many guests on the ship. Many are from the Navy: Historical Office, Hydrographic Institute, Communication Office, etc. Then the civilians, journalists, Superintendence, a biologist from the University of Genoa (the wreck is decorated with white coral), the crew following the orders issued by the loudspeaker with the sailors running and preparing to release the cables and move . Warm sunny spring day. Already last week we had to give up boarding due to bad weather and the rough seas, today the furious wind of the last few days has calmed down, it seems an ideal time for our work. Once the ship has stabilized with the stern on the vertical of the wreck I begin by putting the Palla into the sea. I didn't bring any of mine because the minesweeper is already used to working with the other military versions of the PLUTO which are normal equipment and which today rest in the hangars. They have experienced pilots and trained support sailors, so no worries, the little Palla and Multipluto are safe in their hands. I direct the operations and I am the pilot of one of the two. The idea was to bring both vehicles down together so that the powerful lights of the Multipluto illuminate the wreck to allow the Pluto Ball to perform excellent shots. Unfortunately the dive plans were upset by a strong current and unsuccessful experiments.
Despite these inconveniences, I made enough shots for the Navy to certify the Gioberti's recognition .
I then learned that my friend Corrado Ricci of the newspaper La Nazione had found two elderly survivors of the ship in Viareggio, 94-year-old Vittorio Dini, former Gioberti radio operator and Mario Bonetti of 96 literally friends “for life”. With a brilliant idea, Corrado organized a live transmission via iphone to their computer at Vittorio's home, allowing them, very excited, to see what remains of their ship in real time.
Then with the work of the Navy Communication Office, the news reaches numerous media including radio, TV and local newspapers, leaving me a little tired (I'm no longer a young man) but satisfied and gratified.