The Sunken Treasure of the Greek Seas; Shipwrecks and Where to Find Them

FILE - In this photo taken on Sunday, April 7, 2019, divers visit a 5th Century B.C. shipwreck, the first ancient shipwreck to be opened to the public in Greece, including to recreational divers who will be able to visit the wreck itself, near the coast of Peristera, Greece. (AP Photo/Elena Becatoros)

Greece contains an incredible and largely uncharted wealth from countless shipwrecks that lie beneath its waters, according to Hellenic Navy Commander Panagiotis Tripontikias, the author of the book “Shipwrecks in the Greek Seas (1830-1951)”, in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) radio station ‘Praktoreio 104.9 FM’.

He noted that 1,061 ships had sunk in Greek waters just in World War II while little has been done to properly record and exploit these, noting that his book could serve as a resource for exploring this “sunken treasure”.

“Research shows some very good examples of how, for example, the US navy manages its own shipwrecks. In the US there are about 2,500 shipwrecks of war ships alone and 14,000 aircraft,” he said, noting that the US Navy has founding a Naval History and Heritage command. The US policy was that shipwrecks should be left undisturbed except for educational, historic and archaeological purposes, he noted, protecting them from looters and smugglers.

In this photo taken on Sunday, April 7, 2019, ancient amphoras lie at the bottom of the sea from a 5th Century B.C. shipwreck, the first ancient shipwreck to be opened to the public in Greece, including to recreational divers who will be able to visit the wreck itself, near the coast of Peristera, Greece. (AP Photo/Elena Becatoros)

In Greece, all shipwrecks over 50 years old have been designated as historic and protected and diving down, while diving down to see them involved a procedure. To fully exploit them for diving tourism, he added, it was necessary to authenticate and record these shipwrecks systematically, which had yet to happen in Greece though some positive moves had been made, with the involvement of Greek universities.

On the best locations for diving in Greece, he advised first contacting diving schools near to the area one happens to be, noting that “all of them have something unique to show”.

The book is available in electronic form for free at the site: https://www.openbook.gr/nayagia-stis-ellinikes-thalasses/.