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Search for the submarine Hr.Ms. O13: (NewsBlog)

Onderzeeboot Hr. Ms. O13 (krantenfoto) The Dutch navy lost a total of seven Dutch submarines during World War II.

Since then six of these submarines are traced and identified. The last found sub K16, wrecked by a Japanese submarine, was found near Borneo end 2011.

Only the submarine Hr. Ms. O13 isn´t located up till now. The O13 sunk somewhere on the Northsea.

The Royal Dutch Navy finally plans for a search of the last submarine O13, starting this year 2012.

Even today it is still not clear how Hr.Ms. O-13 was lost. The ship, under the command of Lieutenant Commander E.H Vorser, was reported missing after 21 June 1940. It was claimed that the Polish submarine Wilk had rammed the Dutch ship on 20 June because the Polish commander believed that he was engaging a German U-boat. The Polish commander reported that this submarine was hit near to its cannon, but Hr.Ms O-13 had no such armament. More likely, the Dutch ship has been sunk 13 June 1940 in a new unknown German minefield positioned at 56'55N 03E

Besides the O13 more submarines have been sunk in that area, read here ....

For the last letter send from Dundee by the Sea Commander 1st Class Edward Herbert Vorster, click here.

........ LATEST NEWS .........

June 30, 2017: Neither ORP Orzel nor Hr.Ms. O13 found during Santi Expedition.

The next stage of the expedition ‘SANTI ODNALEZC ORLA’ 2017 is completed.

From May 20 to June 9, 2017, we have completed the next stage of the ‘SANTI Odnalezc Orla’ expedition which aim is to search and locate the ORP ‘Orzel‘, polish submarine sank at the bottom of the North Sea. As part of the expedition we continued the systematic bathymetric measurements started in 2015 in the immediate vicinity of the British aircraft carrier’s attack to submarine on June 3, 1940. The team might also have discovered the British HMS Narwhal, a torpedo mine vessel, type Porpoise...........

Read the article about the completed expedition here on their site dedicated to the search for the Orzel.

March 2017: They do not give up. Resume search ORP Orzel.

During the summer they will once again be at the bottom of the North Sea to look for Eagle

The next maritime expedition will leave from Gdynia in search of the wreck of the ORP Orzel missing since May 1940. They want to explore an area of approximately 1,500 square kilometers of the bottom of the North Sea. This area is based on the assumption that the boat was accidentally bombed by a British plane. The expedition is scheduled for June told Tomasz Stachura, one of the organizers. Read the translation of the complete article on TVN24 here.

........ LATEST NEWSLETTER OSD .........

December 2016: (missing since June 12th, 1940) The search continues!

GroupsElder of the OSD, Sea Cap. Hugo L.J. Ammerlaan, explained in his latest newsletter to relatives of lost submarine sailers: "In 2015 we were given a handwritten patrol report and a navigation log, written by the commanding officer of the Polish submarine Wilk. The Wilk claims to have sunk another submarine at about the same time and place of the disappearance of the 0 13. This report provides us with the most specific reference to the 0 13 to date. It could indicate that its followed course leads to a search area roughly 30 Nautical miles (55 kilometers) North of our current estimated position. There is evidence of at least one, and possibly more submarine wrecks in that area. All these should be searched and identified over the coming years. Firstly however, before we can go to sea again, a lot of research of archives is necessary, because otherwise the search area remains simply too large and the probability of success will correspondingly be too small." Read the complete letter here.

January 2016: Offshore Wind Developers Locate Lost WWI Submarine

Windfarm developers ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) and Vattenfall, working with survey contractor Fugro, have discovered a hitherto-unknown wreckage site – the resting place of a an uncharted submarine 50 nm from shore. The length of the boat was about 60 metres, about the size of the O13.

“[Fugro's] team made us aware of the Dutch Navy’s hunt for its last remaining missing WWII submarine, HNLMS O13. We were all keen to make contact with the Dutch Navy to see if this could be [it] . . . could we at last have solved the mystery?” said Andy Paine, Vattenfall project director for the East Anglia Offshore Wind Farm. The Dutch Navy made several attempts to get positive confirmation of the wreck's identity, but visibility and conditions on the bottom were poor. Finally, divers of the Lamlash North Sea Diving team were able to obtain firm proof of the identity of the wreck. Footage taken by the Dutch Navy divers highlighted clear images of the conning tower and deck lay-out, which suggested the wreck was of German origin. German historical plans suggested that this was a WWI German submarine Type U-31 ..... read the complete story here.

December 2015: The search continues indefatigably!

GroupsElder of the OSD explained in his latest newsletter to relatives of lost submarine sailers: "In the past year, new information emerged. We received data from Norway on a number of submarine wrecks, including two that are near the search area and have not yet been identified. Also, a log has been "found" from the Polish submarine Wilk. It turned out a note made about the probable position of the O13 around the time of her disappearance. Since this is approximately 30 Nautical Miles north of the previously adopted position we must shift our search area rather to the North. This also brings us closer to the aforementioned wrecks. As soon as an opportunity arises, we will try to examine these positions."

And Sea Cap. Hugo L.J. Ammerlaan continues: "In 2015 ties with Polish and Finnish search teams are tightened. Co-operation provides the ability to perform more efficient search actions by combining the forces. The detection and investigation of submarines will make more and more international attention and modern means that this research comes in range of several organizations. A hopeful development.".

October 2014: Quest for Hr.Ms. O13 goes through

There is no news related to the O13 to be found on the internet lately.
To get a complete picture of the latest developments and status of the O13 search, and as a service to my readers, I used Google to translate the outstanding article of "Marine Schepen" (naval vessels) of last year.
Please be aware that this is an automatic translation and therefor not 100% accurate.

The translated article can be read here.

If you have any remark or suggestion about my site please sent me an e-mail at "reanstra@hotmail.com".

September 2013: "O13 stilonpatrol" - next expedition to januari 2014?

"Can we expect another expedition soon?" asks "O13 stilonpatrol" in an interview of expedition leader Spoelstra, who answers: "The expedition we planned for this fall will be postponed, and will most likely be moved to January 2014. Bringing together a research vessel, a survey team and good weather is not possible in October. After October the chance of bad (autumn) weather is too big. An expedition from mid-January offers now the best opportunities. ...."

The complete interview can be read here on "O13 stilonpatrol"'s facebook page.

Preface official report about expedition 2012 in the KVO magazine of March 2013.

Search for Hr. Ms. O-13.

Dear reünist,

As I have already said before, the Commission Survivors Onderzeeboten and the Submarine Service, after the discovery of HNLMS KXVI, have shifted their focus to finding the last missing boat: Hr. Ms. O-13. After thorough preparations in which a huge amount of data is collected and analyzed about wrecks on the North Sea and a validation of historical information, on Monday, October 8th, 2012 MV Tridens 1 of the Tranship company went to sea for a search for the O-13. On board was a select international group of surveyors, a team from the Royal Navy and a camera crew present to the hydrographical equipment of the firm Fugro to search the seabed to capture this expedition.

During this large-scale survey many potentially interesting wreck sites are examined. Unfortunately, on Saturday, October 13, the expedition had to be interrupted untimely due to bad weather and high seas. Already the next day the ship was back in Den Helder. During the expedition a large portion of the predetermined search area has been explored. In this area no submarine wrecks are found. So the 'search' for the O-13 continues.

For the investigations of the seabed sonar systems are flowed from the vessel, and this is not possible at a high sea state. So we are very dependent on relatively quiet weather. At this time we look at all opportunities to continue to search and chart also the second part of the search area. Unfortunately in the autumn the weather is very often too bad and we need at least some nice days in a row to let the voyage be effective. Yet we continue to look forward to an opportunity to continue the expedition. I keep you informed.

To give you an impression of the recent expedition, I added a report written by Ruurd van Rooijen, former submarine commander, former Chief of Hydrography and member of CNO. (to be read here in dutch)



15-02-2013. After 73 years Dutch Navy searching for Dundee-based submarine O13.

STATUS UPDATE of the search expedition.

It is unclear what the status of the search expedition is, since the Royal Navy has not issued any official news updates after their last announcements about this expedition in the summer of 2012.

The dutch newspaper "Telegraaf" reports in an article on Saturday, January-12 2013: "Last October was already searched with hydrographic equipment and a submarine robot in an area as large as the province of Utrecht.
But bad weather played havoc with the expedition and the team led by commander Jouke Spoelstra returned empty-handed to Den Helder." "A spokesman for the Navy doesn't want to give details." the paper continues, "Because it is so sensitive to the families of the lost crew."
According the same article the Royal Dutch Navy hopes to detect the O13 this spring with state-of-the-art sonar equipment. "Should the mission succeed then, after 73 years, the wreck will get the status of War Memorial. With, finally, a dignified final resting place for the 34 persons on board."

31-08-2012. Dutch Navy to search for Dundee-based submarine lost in WWII.

BBC NEWS Tayside and Central Scotland

A Dutch naval expedition is hoping to locate the wreck of a Dundee-based World War Two submarine more than 70 years after it disappeared.
O-13, or Onderzeeboot 13, escaped from Holland during the German invasion in May 1940 to join the Royal Navy. The boat failed to return from a mission in the North Sea in June that year. O-13 is the only Dutch submarine lost during the war which has not been located and given war grave status. Read further here .... or in Spanish here ....

Other news articles on the subject of the memorial services of 2012 in Dundee:
-Dundee harbour to be scene of commemoration of tragic wartime mystery, read here ...
-Dundee service to remember Second World War maritime tragedy, read here ...

July 2012. Movie about search and identification of submarine wrecks.

The film "Deep Wreck Mysteries" in episode 1 gives a good picture of how experts work in search for submarine wrecks. It tells in these series how they track down, investigate, and identify a submarine wreck.

However, the movie unfolds to a tragic end in which the demise of three submarines slowly reveals to the viewer. It shows how and where deep mines were laid, what they looked like and what the devastating impact of hitting a mine exactly meant.
How within a few seconds a giant hole is beaten somewhere in the steel hull of the boat where the sea fills the new open space almost immediately.

And then one involuntarily thinks of the O13 which probably also hitted a mine and where within a few minutes only silence reigned. Relatives of the crew of the three U-boats heard for the first time what really happened to their beloved ones and were finally able to show their last respects. Relatives of the O13 crew are still hoping ....

This film is produced for BBC Canada by a.o. Innes McCartney. He is a deep-wreck diver, a historical consultant specializing in submarines, and a naval history and diving publisher. He has discovered many historic shipwrecks, including the M1 and HK Komet, and HMS Indefatigable and HMS Defence at Jutland; organized the Operation Deadlight expeditions; identified 44 mystery submarine wrecks; and been a key figure in the making of TV documentaries such as Deep Wreck Detectives and Clash of the Dreadnoughts. Innes was also the first diver to visit all three of the greatest diveable liner wrecks: Britannic, Lusitania and Andrea Doria

The playlist of the film can be found here.

International Request for wreck information, July 2012.

The Committee Relatives of Lost Submarine Crews 1940-1945, the Royal Netherlands Navy and ChartworX have joined together in there search for the dutch submarine O13. They have the folowing request:

" .... In order to bring our search to a successful conclusion, we need help from you, the North Sea being your working area, in some cases for many years already. You may have useful information about wrecks and other obstacles and it is even possible that parts of the O-13 or other submarines have been brought to the surface by you and are now stored in an unknown – at least to the Submarines Working Group – location. We would therefore be most grateful if you would be willing to share with us any information you have about shipwrecks that resemble submarines in this area, about parts of submarines that have been brought to the surface, or any other information that might be useful to our research. Any information you provide will be treated with strict confidentiality .......... "

read the complete story including a search map and all relevant request information at The search for HNLMS O-13

2012: Media teams set up to document a search of the O13 by the Royal Dutch Navy.

The media teams are working together to produce a movie about the search for the last dutch submarine Hr. Ms. O13 and about the story of her mysterious loss. As one of the results several programs are broadcasted on the dutch television last time about the O13 and possible search plans.

See my dutch Search for O13 page for a list of links to relevant "news" websites.

Request: The media producer is interrested in relatives who have stories or other usefull information of the following lost dutch crew members of the O13:

F.A. van den Hilst, matroos der 1e klasse/ J.A. Buijs, officier marinestoomvaartdienst der 2e klasse/ J.J.A. Cadot, korporaal torpedomaker/ Th. Dam, korporaal konstabel,J. Drijver, stoker-olieman ZM/ C.L. Gend, matroos der 1e klasse/ G.J. Heikamp, korporaal machinist/ J.A. Sillevis, luitenant ter zee der 3e klasse/ W.J. Snijder, luitenant ter zee der 2e klasse KMR OV/ J.A. Vliet, korporaal monteur/ E.H. Vorster, luitenant ter zee der 1e klasse, commandant. Also relatives from the 3 british members are asked for a reaction.
See O13, Still On Patrol for actual information.

2012: Diving team ready for search O13.

The last missing Dutch submarine in the North Sea is O13. A team wants to collect all data related to O13, and as they write have a team ready who wants to search the O13. We planned diving depth up to 90 meter. The team consist of a group of experienced closed circuit rebreather divers.

See HERE for more information.

3 November 2011: Great News: Sunken World War Two Dutch sub discovered.

The first photographs of the sunken remains of a Dutch submarine that was torpedoed off the coast of Borneo by a Japanese submarine on Christmas day in 1941. Divers brought the submarine's steering wheel to the surface to help with identification of the dutch sub the HNLMS K XVI.

See HERE and / or HERE for more information.

2005: As I understood the Dutch Submarine Services will celebrate its hundredth anniversary next year (2006) and would like to find still lost subs before the celebration.

The "Stichting Comité nabestaanden onderzeeboten 1940-1945" will try to setup a new search for the summer of 2006, as can be read on dutchsubmarines at year 2005.

On 14 September 2005 I received a mail from somebody stating "I heard that indeed there has been a search for the O13 a couple of weeks ago by a Polish exploration ship. The Dutch Royal Navy is involved in this search. The intention was to search for 14 days but the search was abonded because of technical problems and bad weather. The search lasted 4 full days but unfortunately nothing has been found." Apparently not the same search as stated above.

On the Dutch site 'Verenigd Marine & Koopvaardij Forum' I started a Forum 'Opsporing (Search) Hr.Ms O13' myself.
Some messages are posted by a Chef of Ship´s Company Mr. M. Harskamp stating that the hydrographic vessel Hr.Ms Luymes sets out for the sunk submarine O13 on monday 12 sept 2005. And at some later date "Unfortunately we were only able to search for just one day of the available time we have got. We had to stop caused by bad local weather (too much wind 9/10), and were just lie-ing in the wind for three more days."

On a Polish Forum I found a message dated 26 July 2005 that most likely within some weeks the search for the O13 would commence. On the same site an article dated 2005 has been published whereby the Polish are pleading for the cooperation of the Dutch and Polish investigators and for a combined search for the Dutch submarine O13 and the Polish ORP Orzel, most likely sunk in the same minefield as the O13.

Since 2004 you can read on the Dutch site of the syndicate of surviving relatives the "Stichting Comité nabestaanden onderzeeboten 1940-1945" at the item expeditions that the syndicate is preparing a search for submarine Hr.Ms. O13. The target then was to organise a search still in 2004. The syndicate organises the financials as well as the searches for the lost Dutch submarines.


remarks or suggestions ?

GENERAL: Dutch version |

(This page of 2005 was last updated on 30 June 2017).