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The stern of the ship Enigheten. Photo: Patrik Höglund/ Vrak/SMTM, CC-BY.

Djupasund – A ship barrier off Karlskrona

Around the naval city of Karlskrona are a few inlets that today provide several port entry alternatives. When the naval port and shipyard were built in the 1680s, only one of these inlets was navigable for the great ships of the time.

To defend that inlet, forts were built on Kungsholmen and Drottningskär. In the 18th century, the situation changed as more manoeuvrable shallow-draft vessels ravaged the coasts, especially Russian galleys. To prevent this type of ship from taking the back route into Karlskrona, ships were purposely sunk in the Djupasund strait in 1785.

The first ships to be sunk were probably Pollux and Konung Fredrik. The latter was built as Enigheten way back in 1696. A survey of the strait in 1805 revealed that the two ships sunk at the site 20 years ago no longer fulfilled their function as a barrier. A reinforcement was needed. So, three more ships were sunk in 1810.

The frigate Grip and the brigantine Disa were sunk, and shortly afterwards the small skerry boat Simpan, which upon inspection appeared to be unusable for combat. Probably the last ship to be sunk in Djupasund was the ship of the line Wasa, which had been scrapped in 1827 but kept afloat until 1836 when she was towed out to the other sunken ships.

During surveys carried out by the National Maritime and Transport Museums in 2020 and 2021, six vessels were found in Djupasund’s barrier. Of the six wrecks, five have been identified with high probability as Grip, Konung Fredrik, Wasa, Disa and Pollux. However, the identification of Simpan is uncertain.

See where the wreck is located To the map