Africa-Italy pipeline digs up French World War I battleship

Feb 18, 2009 01:00 AM

The Italo-Algerian company building a deepwater pipeline between North Africa and the Continent have said a French World War I battleship has been discovered astride the transit route by surveyor Fugro.
The pipeline-building consortium Galsi said the vessel is the dreadnought Danton -- torpedoed off Sardinia by Central Power forces in 1917, eight years after its launch. The Central Powers were Germany, Austro-Hungary and then later the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.

It's not the only World War battlefield seeing oil and gas industry activity these days. Off northern Norway, at the North Cape, Norwegian oil company StatoilHydro and France's Total have, as operators, been responsible for the safety of Transocean rigs drilling over wrecked German, British, Canadian and Norwegian shipping lost in battle against the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst in the WWII.
In Indonesia, too, exploration work has picked its way through the sites of fierce battles between Japanese and Anglo-American naval and marine forces. In the North Sea, divers have told the seabed is still one big "ammunition dump", with pipelines criss-crossing the decaying hulls of weapons transports.

Overseeing the safety of the Sardinian pipeline through legal entity Galsi are Sonatrach, with 41.6 % in the project company, Edison (20.8 %), Enel (15.6 %), Gruppo Hera (10.4 %) and Sardinian institutional investor Sfirs (11.6 %).
Their 850-km pipeline will be the Med's deepest by reaching 2,825-metre depths.

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