Axis wreck discovered off Albania

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the wreckage of an Italian ship torpedoed off the coast of Albania by British forces during World War II.

The remnants, discovered with undersea scanning devices, were probably were part of the 8,000-ton freighter Rosandra, which was hit by the British submarine HMS Tactician on June 14, 1943, while Albania was occupied by Italy, a team of US and Albanian archaeologists said on Monday, the 67th anniversary of the sinking.

The vessel was located 260 feet beneath the surface of the Ionian Sea near Albania’s Karaburun Peninsula, 90 miles southwest of Tirana, the capital, during a survey of the country’s seabed that began four years ago, according to an Associated Press report.

“Expedition coordinator Auron Tare of Albania said the size of the wreck, and sonar images of two holes apparently caused by torpedo explosions, matched information from Italian and British sources on the Rosandra,” according to the Associated Press.

Six people died in the attack on the vessel, which was carrying 400 tons of food and military supplies to Italian occupation forces in neighboring Greece, but 173 survived and were safely evacuated.

The Rosandra had been headed from the Albanian port of Vlora — 70 miles from Italy — to Patras in Greece.

Albania was under Fascist Italian occupation from 1939 until September 1943, when Italy surrendered to Allied forces.

Italy lost about 90 percent of its merchant fleet during World War II, according to the AP report.

Launched in 1943, the Tactician sank two Italian vessels, including the Rosandra, a Japanese ship and two Siamese ships. She survived the war and was eventually scrapped in the 1960s.

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