Minesweeper Schchit was built in the Russian-Baltic Shipyard in Tallinn, and it was one of the first vessels designed specifically for the task of minesweeping. Its official service started in June 1916 and lasted for six months: on December 6th it hit a German mine in Soela Strait between Saaremaa and Hiiumaa islands. While abandoning ship the crew was able to maintain order and discipline, steam was released from the boilers and secret documents were handed over to the commander of the nearby minesweeper Gruz. An attempt to tow the vessel was made at first, but it failed as the stern of the ship was stuck to the bottom of the sea and only the bow remained above water. The towing line was soon removed and the Shchit sank to its present position on the seabed.
Data about the wreck
Location: Baltic Sea, west of Sõru Harbour in Hiiumaa
Coordinates: 58° 41.477; 22° 24.717
Depth of wreck: 11 metres
Depth of surrounding area: 13 metres
Dimensions of the wreck: 33 x 40 metres
Dimensions of the original vessel: 53 x 6.6 x 1.2 metres
Displacement: 271 tons
Armament: 1 x 1-75 mm Canet gun (in the bow in front of the bridge, the ship also had two 2 x 1-7.6 mm light machine-guns); naval mines (could carry 50-60 naval mines).
Status: The wreck of the minesweeper lies tight in the sediment of the seabed in a northeast to southwest direction. The stern section has broken off from the rest of the vessel and is located approximately 10 metres from the hull crosswise from the latter.
Cultural monument reg. no. 30968, 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 also for beginners.