One of WW1 naval mysteries one step closer to being solved after a £1 billion subsea cable laying project, connecting England and Scotland, results in history discovery.
Marine engineers working on the Western Link project, a joint venture between ScottishPower and National Grid which will take renewable power from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales, have found the wreck of a German U-boat while surveying the sea bed off the coast of Wigtownshire.
Remarkable sonar images show the 100-year-old vessel largely intact and attempts to identify the wreck have led experts to conclude that it may be that of UB-85, a submarine that, according to folklore, was attacked by a sea monster while prowling Scotland’s coastline towards the end of World War I.
Official reports from the time tell how UB-85 was caught on the surface during the day of April 30 1918 and sunk by a British patrol boat – the HMS Coreopsis, which was built on the Clyde near Glasgow by renowned shipbuilders Barclay Curle & Co, of Elderslie Dockyard.
The German submarine crew surrendered without resistance to the surprise of their British counterparts.
However, another story has long been associated with the U-boat and its commander, Captain Krech. An old sea tale, widely shared online, recounts that the Captain, when questioned about why he had been cruising on the surface, told how the sub had been recharging batteries at night when a “strange beast” rose from the sea. He is said to have described a “beast” with “large eyes, set in a horny sort of skull. It had a small head, but with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight”.
The animal was so large that it is claimed it forced the U-boat to list greatly to starboard. “Every man on watch began firing a sidearm at the beast,” Krech is believed to have said, telling how the battle continued until the animal dropped back into the sea. In the struggle, though, the forward deck plating had been damaged and the sub could no longer submerge. “That is why you were able to catch us on the surface,” the Captain is said to have concluded.
Innes McCartney is an historian and nautical archaeologist who has been working with the Western Link team in a bid to identify the wreck and concludes that the mystery of UB-85 could be one step closer to being solved.
He said: “In the waters of the Irish Sea there are at least 12 British and German submarines known to have sunk and potentially others whose actual sinking area remains a mystery. The features of this particular wreck, which is largely intact, confirm it as a UBIII-Class submarine, of which we know of two which were lost in the area – the more famous UB-85 and its sister boat UB-82.
“While I can conclude that this wreck is likely to be one or the other, they would be practically impossible to tell apart, aside from the numbers painted on them in service, now obviously long gone.
“Unless a diver can find a shipyard stamp, we cannot say definitively but yes, we’re certainly closer to solving the so-called mystery of UB-85 and the reason behind it’s sinking – whether common mechanical failure or something that is less easily explained.”
And although Dr McCartney favours an error with the submarine’s schematics, an expert of a different kind has another theory.
Gary Campbell, keeper of the Official Sightings Register of the Loch Ness Monster, said: “It is entirely feasible that some large sea creature disabled the submarine. The WWI report from the Captain of the British ship HMS Hilary a year earlier makes it clear that sea farers at that time were well aware of large sea ‘monsters’ that could be harmful to their ships.
“History has shown that there have been consistent reports of large ‘monsters’ not just in lakes and lochs like Loch Ness but out in open waters as well. For many years the giant squid was known as the fearsome Kraken and given the size of the oceans, it wouldn’t be a surprise if many large species were still to be discovered.
“The area of sea where the attack took place has a history of sea monster sightings – they have ranged from the north coast of Wales to Liverpool bay. What the German Captain said could well be true.
“It’s great to see how Nessie’s saltwater cousin clearly got involved in helping with the war effort – she even managed to do the damage without anyone being killed.”
Peter Roper, of Western Link partner ScottishPower, said: “The images we get back from the subsea scans are incredibly detailed, but we obviously need to be aware of what lies beneath before we can start laying a power cable. In all the years I have been building power lines, I can say that this is the most extraordinary discovery.
“The story behind the submarine is also fascinating. I am probably on the side of the historians who believe that the capture of the vessel was more straightforward than a sea monster attack. ‘A sea monster attacked my submarine’ is maybe one of the most fanciful excuses of all time. Thankfully we have had no monster-related health and safety incidents on the project yet.”
Graham Edwards, of Western Link Partner National Grid, said: “The Western Link is a very significant project for the UK and has required careful planning in all aspects, but particularly in the laying of high voltage cables in the sea, where we are working hard to minimise our impact on the environment. During construction, we take great care over archaeology, whether on land or at sea, and it’s always exciting to record a significant find and help to shed new light on our history – especially one with such a good tale involved!”
The subsea marine cable is around 385km long, the longest of its type in the world, and when in place it will run from Ardneil Bay in North Ayrshire in Scotland to the Wirral peninsula in north west England.
The submarine wreck is approximately 120m north-west of the centre of the planned cable route, off the Stranraer coast. The survey shows the vessel is largely intact and is approximately 45m long, with debris spilling out of the stern end.
The World’s Top Cities for Owning a Green Home
Demand for green homes has risen sharply in recent years. Dodge Data & Analytics’ SmartMarket Report stated that over half of homebuilders project that 60% or more of the homes they build will be green within the next three years.
While the outlook for green home is surging throughout the world, growth is far from uniform. The outlook in some cities remains much stronger than others. Here are some of the best cities in the world for building or buying a green home.
Vancouver has a population of nearly 650,000 people. It has a surprisingly low levels of pollution for a city its size. According to research from Siemens, air quality is significantly better than most other communities of the same size. The city government has expressed a desire to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions even further. They expect to cut air pollution by 30% by 2020. Many people in the community have green homes and the government is likely to offer new incentives for green homes in the future.
Philadelphia is rated as the best city in the United States to own a green home. Within a 12-month period, over one in three homes that were sold were environmentally friendly. Demand for green homes in Philadelphia is higher than other homes. The average green home costs 45% more than homes that lack green features.
Australia has begun making substantial progress on the green energy front in recent years. According to one company that offers house and land for sale near Townsville, a growing number of houses are built around sustainability.
Brazil is not known for its commitment to green energy. The city of Curitiba is an exception. Despite being surrounded by communities that lack its vision of a green renaissance, the Siemens report shows that the city is outperforming the global green living index.
Some indexes rank the city even higher. Grist ranks it as the third greenest city on earth.
“As a whole, the green urban areas in Curitiba are among the largest in the world and every inhabitant of the city has approximately 52 m² of nature to romp about in. Brazil’s green capital makes a tremendous effort to preserve the city’s natural environment and is regarded by many as one of the world’s best examples of green urban planning.”
When most people picture Boston, they usually envision a city filled with smog. This stereotype arises among people that have visited the city off and on over the last 50 years. However, it has made tremendous progress over the past decade and has started to become one of the greenest cities in the United States.
The changes are being driven in Fenway. This is one of the least developed areas of the city, so most new construction is focused on creating green building structures. Older parts of the city have existing housing, which is often decades old. After these buildings need to be replaced, the city will try to focus on green initiatives. This will help the city receive even more attention as a green city.
Denmark as a whole is an incredibly green country. Few people own cars and homes are minimalistic, which reduces CO2 emissions. Copenhagen leads the charge in the country’s commitment to green living, so it is rated as the cleanest city in all of Europe.
Copenhagen hasn’t needed to make nearly as much effort to earn this title as most other cities, largely due to the culture that rejects decadence and embraces sustainability. Citizens have coordinated with the government to boost green living, but most of these conditions are driven by free market ideals. They haven’t needed to rely nearly as extensively on central planning as San Francisco and other Western cities.
Cultural Nodes Are Driving the Green Housing Market
Some of the largest cities in the world are embracing a cosmopolitan view that encourages green living. This is propelling demand for green housing in their areas and the rest of the world. People that want to buy a green home should consider investing in one of these areas.
China Unexpectedly Emerging as Global Leader in Green Technology
In the late 20th century, China underwent an amazing industrial revolution. However, in the process, it produced far more pollution, which raised concerns about global warming. The United Nations Environmental Council placed a lot of pressure on China to reduce its carbon footprint. It is clearly making headway now and may actually be a shining example for the rest of the world to follow.
China is Taking Environmental Concerns More Seriously than Ever Before
In recent years, China has made tremendous progress. In 2014, the World Bank praised the Chinese government for integrating forest development, biodiversity conservation and carbon reduction strategies. According to the World Bank analysis, china increased its forest cover by nearly 50% between the late 1980s and 2005. While analysts stated that those levels were still significantly below the global average, they stated that China is clearly headed in the right direction.
“China has long been a forest-poor country. Though its forest cover increased from 13 percent in the 1980s to 18.2 percent by 2005 thanks to an extensive plantations program, the hectare per capita of 0.13 remained significantly below the world average of 0.6. With rapid economic growth, China’s forests came under intense pressure due to the growing demand for timber and pulpwood. The logging ban introduced by the government in 1998 further aggravated the wood shortage. This challenge was more acute in Guangxi, where combined with weak forest resources protection resulted in a threat to its unique biodiversity including one of the largest and most important representatives of karst ecosystem in the world.”
The government’s policies to improve forest area and reduce carbon emissions are highly encouraging, but their new focus on green energy is even more impressive. In May, Premier Li Keqiang announced that the country is tapering steel production and relying less on coal-powered electricity. They have made substantial investments in wind and energy power, which are beginning to make a difference all over the world. They are also investing more heavily in solar. In fact, they developed the world’s largest floating solar plant.
Many environmental experts feel that the country has gone from being one of the worst contributors to climate change to a shining role model in the quest to save the environment.
What drove China to make these changes? The biggest incentive was the need to save it so when people from pollution. National Geographic reports that approximately 1.1 million people die from air pollution in China every year. The government needed to institute massive changes to reverse this epidemic.
Additional progress it is still needed
Nations around the world should applaud China for making such revolutionary changes to save its own citizens in the rest of the world. However, the country still needs to implement more changes to set itself on the right track.
The government has passed a number of regulations to improve air quality. However, many businesses have been reluctant to follow them.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection surveyed nearly 20,000 companies across northern China. They found that 70% of those companies or nearly 14,000 failed to meet environmental standards.
Some of the violations were fairly benign and easy to rectify. Others were far more severe. According to the report, which was published on a state new site, nearly 5,000 companies were operating in on off the rise locations or fail to secure the right environmental permits. The ministry of environmental protection states that stricter enforcement is necessary.
Despite the fact there are still areas for improvement, China is still headed in the right direction. It simply needs to examine some of the ongoing challenges and find new ways to save money.
China May Lead the World in the Fight Against Climate Change
Li Keqiang and other Chinese officials are taking environmental concerns far more seriously than their predecessors. The country is expected to roll out new policies in the future and may be one of the global leaders in the fight against climate change.
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