Location of wreck of Kocatepe, Turkish Destroyer off Cyprus
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Thread: Location of wreck of Kocatepe, Turkish Destroyer off Cyprus

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    Location of wreck of Kocatepe, Turkish Destroyer off Cyprus

    I have recently heard of the wreck of the Turkish Navy Destroyer - Kocatepe. The ship was built for the US Navy in 1944/45 and named USS Harwood DD-861. Sold to the Turkish Navy in December 1971 and renamed Kocatepe D-354. She was sunk in July 1974 during the Cyprus conflict.

    Her stats are: LOA - 118.9m; Beam - 12.5m; Draught - 5.8m. Quite a sizeable vessel.

    Apparently she was sunk somewhere near Limassol is designated a War Grave and therefore very sensitive in this region.

    Any information on her location gratefully received.

    Links:
    KOCATEPE DESTROYER SHIP WRECK
    KOCATEPE DESTROYER 1945-1974
    AQUATEC - INNERSPACE OPERATIONS

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    I was going to suggest Wrecksite, but you already have that. I notice that in the UKHO report the WGS84 position ends in ".000" which I assume means that the position given is approximate (at best).

    KOCATEPE DESTROYER 1945-1974

    Sorry that's not really any help.

    [Edit] Checked 'Dictionary Of Disasters At Sea' and there is no entry in there so that's a dead end.

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    Chilli (19-06-12)

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    A wreck of that size surely would be shown on nautical maps around Limassol? The seabed isn't massively deep, and in any orientation it is going to be quite a large obstruction on the seabed. There is quite a bit of fishing in the area - I'd suggest a chat with the local fishermen or perhaps if you have a military connection they will have map with info on this.

    Digs.

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    Chilli (19-06-12)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    ... I'd suggest a chat with the local fishermen ....
    Digger has a good suggestion with this one. More than one wreck has been found by checking out a mark where fishermen have been loosing gear or snagging nets.

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    I have spent some time looking for this but it is very sensitive as it was a turkish ship that was accidentally sunk by the turks. You are unlikely to find any information via any of the usual routes.
    Mark Powell
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    Thanks for this; as you say the Turkish Air Force sank their own ship in something of a huge counter bluff from both sides. The nature of the sriubject, history and enormous underlying emotional issue locally. It maybe closer to Akrotiri than we realise as some info was dug up whilst a friend was doing some research for a book on our hospital, which is closing. Digger's 'local fishermen' might be the answer. I'm amazed that the local dive operators here aren't aware, but the War Grave issue is very important. Diving in Cyprus as it is needs something other than the Zenobia!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilli View Post
    Thanks for this; as you say the Turkish Air Force sank their own ship in something of a huge counter bluff from both sides. The nature of the sriubject, history and enormous underlying emotional issue locally. It maybe closer to Akrotiri than we realise as some info was dug up whilst a friend was doing some research for a book on our hospital, which is closing. Digger's 'local fishermen' might be the answer. I'm amazed that the local dive operators here aren't aware, but the War Grave issue is very important. Diving in Cyprus as it is needs something other than the Zenobia!
    Give Andy at i-Dive a call, they had an expedition in November 2010 at Kocatepe Destroyer which is outside Paphos I believe.
    http://www.i-dive.com.cy/Expeditions.aspx
    Last edited by alexis; 27-08-12 at 08:51 PM.

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    EXPEDITION II 2012

    NOVEMBER 1-4 th 2012

    For interest and expedition participation and details please email at [email protected]. — in Páfos, Paphos.

    Facebook

    Sinking of the ship:



    When the Cyprus operations beginned at 20th of July 1974, Kocatepe destroyer was ready at the Mersin Harbour. It was heard that the Greek Ships would change their flags with Turkish flags and use radio operators who knew Turkish. That era's head minister Ecevit was interviewed with the American authorities but couldn't accomplish anything. While the operations going on, Turks got an intelligence that was saying that there was a Greek fleet around Baf at 21st of July 1974. Because of this S-2E class Tracker Sea Sentry planes belonging to the 301. fleet were sent to area for sentry. The radar was showing 4 destroyers and 7 cargo ships headed to the island. For confirmation, RF-84F planes belonging to the 184th fleet were sent to area. But no physical contact made. Kocatepe and two other destroyers were sent to area for investigation.

    At the morning of 21st july everyone was waiting information. Because Greek support could reach the island. Also none of planes made contact, the Anamur radar was showing the ships. Turkish operation center was determined to block the fleet. At 1:00 pm an attack was planned on this fleet. At 2:00 pm F-100D planes from 111th fleet and F-104 planes from 141th fleet got on their way. For stopping a possible Greek landing, all the ships around the area would be bombed.

    The report that camed shocked everyone, who was waiting good news that would say Greek ships found and sunked. Because in the area that Turkiye didn't supposed to have any ships , Turkiye confirmed not to have any ship, Turkiye had 3 destroyers. Which one of them was Kocatepe and which sunked by Turkish planes at 22nd of July 1974. The others Adatepe and Maresal Cakmak had reached to Mersin with survivors and wounded. With this tragical accident Turkiye lost 54 good marines. The best reasons of this accident were , the need to stop any Greek landing, tension of this possible landing, and the intelligence about the Greek ships with Turkish flags. After this, the possible leaks, needs and musts had been completed in the Turkish army. Also gossips were saying that there could be an interference with the radar systems of the Turkish navy.

    It is thaught that the ship was sunked near Akrotiri.

    Before the ship sunked, the crew abondoned the ship with the order of the Captain Colonel Guven Erkaya. The survivors had been rescued by different navies. A group including captain had been rescued by Israel navy, a group had been rescued by English and some rescued by Turkish navy.

    Captain Ian Mckechnie who rescued 72 of the survivors had been awarded with the Turkish Distinguished Service Medal.

    The captain of the Kocatepe destroyer had become the head of the Turkish Navy on the following years.

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    From 1997 to 2000 I was working in Paphos. In 1998 and 1999 I was part of a military dive club that searched for the wreck.
    In 1999 we located a large metal object using a magnetometer and sonar but were unable to dive the site due to time and lack of suitable equipment.
    A group of 4 returned to the gps marks a week later and at a depth on 65m found several large metal objects that were definitely of military in origin. But there was no real evidence large scale wreckage.
    During my research I spoke to the local chief of marine police who can remember the sinking as the wreck exploded and blew in the windows to the police station in the harbour. Several villagers who lived in Coral bay area said the same thing.
    I have completed numerous dives in the area of the man target and the only thing of note to be found is an ancient roman wreck containing rows of amphorae.
    I have no doubt the wreck is out there, but may well have sunk in deeper water. Have a look on the UK hydrographic charts is gets deep....
    The Kocatepe was former USS Harwood, a gearing class destroyer.

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    My reason for commenting here is to help put you onto information that may lead to the location of this ship. In that it is a Protected Grave Site, RECPECT it as such. I was on the Deck of the USS Harwood, DD861 when they Held Ceremonies in Istanbull giving rise to Kocatepe D354. I am the last American Sailor to climb her mast. I sailed with these Turks for months, and am deeply tied to them. RIP ...WE can talk.

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