The cargo steamer E. Russ was built in 1909 by order of the German shipping company Ernst Russ. In 1919 it was given to England as war reparation.
After the end of World War I, Estonia bought goods from the Liquidation Committee of the US Army to supply its Army during the War of Independence.
On September 15th 1919 E. Russ, carrying the supplies, reached Tahkuna Peninsula, where it hit a floating mine on stormy sea at 4 AM. The ship sank in 15 minutes but all 27 crewmembers and eight passengers managed to escape.
E. Russ carried goods from almost 2 million dollars: 50 cars, spare car parts and two motorcycles. The hold of the ship mainly contained food: salted meat, bacon, sardines, oleomargarine, vinegar, dried potatoes and carrots, turnips and onions, plums and bread, marmalade, condensed milk, coffee and tea. The ship also carried tobacco, cigarettes, candles, towels, boots, clothes, medication. 102 barrels of alcohol had been placed on the deck of the ship. A small part of the cargo was salvaged. Also several attempts were made to lift and demolish the wreck of the E. Russ after the Estonian War of Independence, but they all failed.
Data about the wreck
Location: Baltic Sea, north of Tahkuna Peninsula in Hiiumaa
Coordinates: 59° 12.577, 22° 38.077
Depth of wreck: 24 metres
Depth of surrounding area: 36 metres
Dimensions of wreck: length 94 metres and breadth 14 metres
Tonnage: 2439 grt
Orientation of the wreck: 70-250
Status: The damage caused by the naval mine explosion can be seen. The largely well preserved remains of the scattered cargo are visible on and around the wreck. Look for tools, incl. hammers, two-man saws, etc., footwear, bottles of various sizes (incl. medicine bottles), household items, tyres of different vehicles, cart wheels, etc.
Cultural monument reg. no. 30210, register.muinas.ee
Diving is permitted only under the instruction of a licensed business operator or with a diving permit from the National Heritage Board of Estonia.
Suitable for experienced divers. During the navigation season there is an anchor buoy next to the wreck, also information boards are installed on either side of the wreck.