Newsblog search for the dutch submarine Hr.Ms. O13

Submarine Hr.Ms. O13


Newsblog search submarine O13

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 submarine Hr. Ms. O13 is not located up till now. The O13 sunk somewhere on the Northsea.

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.

Show editor tips: "Must have reads."

  • Latest developments and status of the O13 search with amongst others, Anselm van der Peet and Jouke Spoelstra in "Marineschepen" (translation by Google).

  • Newsletter commander Dutch Submarine Service, 2016, Captain (Navy) Hugo L.J. Ammerlaan.

  • The complete report of an expedition to search for the ORP Orzel on the Santi-site and the find of the Narwhal in the DailyMail.

  • Newsletter commander Dutch Submarine Service, 2017, Captain (Navy) Herman M.T. de Groot.

Newsletter commander Dutch Submarine Service.

December 20, 2018

The ship wrecks in the North Sea have our full attention


Commander Netherlands Submarine Service, Captain (Navy) Herman M.T. de Groot, continues in his recent Newsletter to the Relatives Submarines: "HNLMS O 13 is the last Dutch submarine unfound. During our, until now futile, search we did find and investigate British and German submarine wrecks sunken during World War I."

"These wrecks have been imbedded in the sand for around 100 years.
The salt water and the abrasive effect of the sand result in the slow disappearance of these wrecks. But as yet these wrecks are still recognizable and testify of the severe demands of the war on sea.
Again during the past year several possible locations for HNLMS O 13 have been researched. "

Please read the complete newsletter here.

Newsletter commander Dutch Submarine Service.

December 20, 2017

We keep doing everything possible to find O13!


Commander Netherlands Submarine Service, Captain (Navy) Herman M.T. de Groot, explained in his recent Newsletter to the Relatives Submarines 1940-1945 after having visited two retired veterans from WW2 submarines:
"I can telI you that the insights of both gentlemen have made a deep impression. I got a glimpse of what it must have been like to have served on submarines under war conditions. It has certainly strengthened me to keep doing everything possible to find the 013 and to keep the memory of all who have fallen serving in the Submarine Service alive."

"Also this year the list of possible O13-locations has been shortened again."

The captain also highlights the search operations for the still missing O13 which didn't locate the boat sofar but nevertheless shortened the list of possible O13-locations. Although the Navy explored the Northseabed extensively they were unable to explore some promissing wreck locations near the south coast of Norway, due to bad wheather.

Please read the complete newsletter here.

Expedition "SANTI ODNALEZC ORLA" 2017 is back.

June 30, 2017

Neither ORP Orzel nor Hr.Ms. O13 found during Santi Expedition.

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 carriers attack to submarine on June 3, 1940. The team might also have discovered the British HMS Narwhal, a torpedo mine vessel, type Porpoise...........
You can find a moving story of a relative of the Narwhal crew here.

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

They do not give up. Resume search ORP Orzel.

March 2017

During the summer they will once again be at the North Sea to search 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.

Newsletter commander Dutch Submarine Service.

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.

"Search area roughly 30 Nautical miles North of the current estimated position?"

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.

"Could the O13 mystery have been solved at last?".

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.

Newsletter "Search goes on without hesitation!"

December 24, 2015

In the past year, new submarine wreck information emerged from Norway.

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."

"Modern research means that this research comes in range of several organizations."

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".

Quest for Hr.Ms. O13 goes through .

October 2014

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.

The translated article can be read here.
Please be aware that this is an automatic translation and therefor not 100% accurate.

"O13 stilonpatrol" - next expedition to januari 2014?

September 2013

"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 (Dutch) interview can be read here on "O13 stilonpatrol"'s facebook page.

Groupselder Submarine Service "Search for Hr.Ms. O13".

March 2013

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

Tridens 1

"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." Says Groupselder Submarine Service, Captain Marc. RP. Elsensohn MSc in the KVO magazine of this month.

" In the search area no submarine wrecks were found. So the search for submarine O13 continues. "

He continues: "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)

STATUS UPDATE of the search expedition.

Februari 15, 2013 2013

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

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."


Previous blogs


Previous newsblog about O13 and the search for it.

See here the previous (old) blogspot with posts up to 2012.