The idea of starting this project came from the discussion divers had on board during one of the exploration weeks in 2013, organized by Maurizio from Krnica Dive. After a fantastic dive on the Rossarol we decided to make a plan to avoid the wreck being robbed from all its details and monitor its condition over time. July 2014 the first project week closed successfully. Divers from 4 different European countries participated to reveal the secrets of the Cesare Rossarol, it became clear that “GUE Project Rossarol 2014” needed continuation. We all noted that the wreck field of the ship needed more time to map and to investigate. So soon after the project ended, the name of the project changed into “GUE Project Rossarol” without the dedication of a particular year. A second project took place July 2016, and in the meantime we have gathered so much material and information that September 2018 the last Project related dives will be done to collect some details. Also 2018 will be the 100 years memorial of sinking which gives us a reason to give more attention to the wreck and its history. All participating project members are joining this project on a voluntary base investing time and funds to contribute on the end result.
Currently the Cesare Rossarol is located 2.16km of the coast from Liznjan and is frequently dived by divers brought to the location by different diving operators. These recreational dives do not directly contribute or monitor the status of the entire wreck field.
With the project we want to contribute by monitoring the condition and situational arrangement of the wreck. It would make it possible to detect any sudden changes of the condition and missing of elements.
Reason for research
It is a combination of reasons that caused us to start the project for the Cesare Rossarol. The RN Cesare Rossarol is for sure one of the most famous shipwrecks that sunk in Adriatic Sea during, or better, a few days after the end of the First World War. Except for the Giuseppe Garibaldi cruiser, sunken close to Dubrovnik on 130 meters depth, the Cesare Rossarol for sure is the most important loss of Italian Navy. The sinking of it, after hitting a mine, was a big material loss, but it was a big humane tragedy as well. Almost all (90+!) crewmembers died due to the fast sinking of the ship and the water temperature during the cold November month.
The force of the explosion almost instantly tore the ship in two parts. The bow quickly sank vertically, while the severely damaged 30-meter high stern drifted for another hundred meters before sinking.
Eighteen other ships arrived at the site, but most of the crew were trapped inside the hull and went down with the ship. It is also believed that the ships portside might have activated the mine on the west edge of the minefield.
The shipwreck itself is resting on a relatively shallow depth of 45-50 meters of depth. Over last decade we have managed to preserve it from being robbed, which happened with wrecks on the western coast of Istria. Unfortunately the Baron Gautsch is such an example of bad preservation on the western coast and lost a lot of details due to robbing.
The wreck site of the Cesare Rossarol is still in quite good shape. Once in a while some new parts pop up out of the bottom due to tidal movement. Anyway in last 10 to12 years we noticed a big deterioration in quality of the wreck; collapsing by itself due to the ravages of time.
Theoretically the current state of the wreck is that good, that if we would lift up the stern of the Cesare Rossarol with all his details and we nicely clean it, there would be no Maritime Museum anywhere in the world which would not like to have it. It truly is a Maritime Museum on the bottom of the Adriatic Sea, which absolutely must be documented and preserved for future generations.
The general goal of the project is to create awareness, respect and protection for the wreck of the Cesare Rossarol so it will be maintained for next generations without losing its identity. This will be done by documenting the history and condition of the wreck and share this document with the public.