On the 10th October, 1941 at 6 minutes before mid day the mine layer the Carol 1 after having left Varna harbor with a new load of mines sunk in 13 minutes, 2 miles away of Galata Burnu lighthouse, one NCO and 20 seamen lost their lives, the rest of the crew being rescued by the torpedo boat Smeul, which was convoying Carol.
There is two versions of how the Carol 1 sank, the first is that it struck a mine layed down by the Soviet ( Lenin class) L 24 mine laying submarine, which was dived on earlier this year by scuba divers from the Black Sea Tec divers and lays at a depth of 60 mts near the Kaliakra cape.
Another version of the sinking of the Carol 1 is a torpedo attack from the Soviet submarine of " SHCH 211" which lies a little further away from the Carol 1. The soviet submarine SHCH ( shtuka / pike ) 211 was dived on by N4 divers on the 1st July, 2008 it rests in 22 mts of water in two sections 150 mt from each other with the loss of life of 44 personnel, but that’s another story.
Sixty seven years later on the 6th October 10, 2008 to the 11th October 2008 she was visited by scuba divers from the N4 a converted enclosed life boat used for the evacuation of personal from oil tankers, over three days a series of dives where performed on the Carol 1. The last of these dives and inspections two anchored mines where clearly visible on the hull of the ship, the wooden decks can clearly be seen as well as the railings although covered in mussels are also very visible. On the bow section there is damage from what maybe an explosion, although further inspection and detailed, concentrated diving on this area will reveal more.
After the war the Bulgarian military divers raised some of the anchored mines which would present a danger to navigation . In 2002 scuba divers from Bulgaria inspected the Carol 1 and the hull which lies on a small bank at a depth of 23.5 mts and elevates above ground to 6.1 mts, the super structure is deformed, and is severally damaged from corrosion. My self and divers from the N4 also took note of the corrosion and how deformed the super structure is and in some places how it has collapsed.
The passenger ship Regele Carol I was build in Glasgow, and fitted out in England, between 1897-1898, and arrived in Romania on 28 June 1898, entering service with the Serviciul Maritim Roman (SMR). It operated on the Constanta-Istanbul and Constanta-Piraeus routes. In 1905 a wireless telegraph post was set up on the ship. As Romania entered the First World War, in 1916 Carol was put at the allied Imperial Russian Navy's disposal and inn October 1916, at Sevastopol, Carol was turned into an auxiliary cruiser. Four 101 mm guns, two 63 mm AA guns, two search-lights and installations for carrying and operating two seaplanes.
When the First World War ended, Carol was returned to its civilian life as a passenger ship, following the Constanta-Varna-Istanbul-Salonika route, inn 1941, the need for minelayers the requisition of Carol was inevitable the Carols main deck readily accepted mine mounts. Lieutenant Commander Ion was the Commander of the ship and between 16 and 19 June 1941, Carol laid mines along Romanian coast, between Cape Midia and Tuzla, together with NMS Amiral Murgescu. Even though the Carol I sank in October, the mine’s it had laid in 1941 continued to claim victims. In the same month, the Soviet submarine M-58 hit a mine in front of Constanta. On 30 November 1941, Sc-211, while was trying to attack a convoy made up of the Romanian cargo ship Carpati and the Bulgarian Czar Ferdiannd, entered a barrage of mines laid on 8 October and sank near Varna. Sc-204 had the same fate also near Varna in December 1941. One year later, in December 1942, the L-24 submarine hit a mine from the S-15 barrage and sank near the Kaliakra Cape.