Watch a video on the search for the U-581:

U-581: wreck of German WWII U-boat

The wreck of the U-581 (sunk south of the Island of Pico in 1942, during WWII), was found by the Rebikoff Foundation in the year 2016 in 870 Meters of depth.

The wreck site transformed into a real deep-sea coral reef, making it an interesting site for deep-water coral researchers.

In summer 2018, coral samples have been collected at the wreck site. The samples are of a new species that is presently being described by researchers of the IMAR Institute of the University of the Azores.

Short history of the sinking of U-581: U-581 left for the Azores with the order to sink the British vessel   which, on 2nd February, 1942, had to leave Horta harbour on the island of Faial/Azores.

The British destroyer HMS Westcott detected U-581 and threw depth charges. The impact of those charges caused severe damage to the u-boat, and the commander gave order to the crew to abandon and sink the U-581. U-581 sank in the morning hours on 2nd February, 1942, south of Pico island.

The operators of the LULA1000 submersible verified the position of the wreck of U-581 on 13th september, 2016, after a search of several months. More than75 years after the sinking, the wreck represents a valuable object for studies on cold-water corals and the conditions which make possible the creation of coral reefs in great depth. Cold-water corals are considered vulnerable ecosystems. Until now, little is known on the growth rate of such corals. Some species can become several hundreds or even several thousands of years old.