Wreck to become off-limits to divers
THE wreck of a First World War U-Boat is set to get special protection because it is rotting so fast the bones of those who died inside can be seen by divers.
The UB81 is to receive 'designated wreck' status under the Protection of Military Remains Act, meaning only those with the right licence will be able to get up close.
The site is already a war grave for 27 German sailors and a favourite among members of the local diving community, who have avoided touching or entering the structure out of respect for the dead.
But the Portsmouth-based Nautical Archaeological Society said the move could bring an end to any further exploration because it did not believe any licences had been issued to dive wrecks protected under the act.
The MoD would not confirm that the increased protection would be conferred, but an announcement is expected within weeks because the wreck is degrading fast.
22 September 2006