Sunday, 19 May 2013

Ship Profiles 7: Lefort

Name: Lefort
Built: 1835
Lenght: 58,3m
Beam: 15,6m
Type: sailing ship

Lefort was a warship of the Imperial Russian Navy, named after admiral Franz Lefort. She was a part of the Baltic fleet, and participated in the Crimean war.

After serving successfully for over twenty years, on the 22nd of September, 1857, she was sailing from Revel, now known as Tallinn, to Kronstadt, carrying the crew and their families. The sea was rough, and a gust of wind caused her to heel over and sink in only minutes, killing all 826 people on board. It was the deadliest shipwreck in the Baltic Sea until the sinking of Estonia almost 140 years later.

There is several theories about why she sank so fast. The ship's structures may have been weakened from carrying heavy loads and lack of proper maintenance. The cargo she was carrying may have been distributed poorly. Another theory says that the gun ports were open, letting in water when the ship listed.

On the 4th of May 2013, while searching for WW2 submarines, a group of divers found her wreck. It was quite well preserved. Remains of the people on board were found inside and on the wreck, which means that people probably tried to survive by climbing on the side of the heeled ship. 

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