1,600-Lb Observatory from Bottom of Baltic Sea Stolen by Mysterious Underwater Thieves

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1,600-Lb Observatory from Bottom of Baltic Sea Stolen by Mysterious Underwater Thieves

 

On August 12, the Boknis Eck Observatory, an environmental monitoring station located on the floor of the Baltic Sea, stopped sending data to scientists. They thought that there was only a problem with the data transmission. It turned out that they had an unusual problem: thieves.

The Boknis Eck Observatory aims to gather environmental data from the ocean floor and send that information to the researchers. The station, which consisted of about 1,630 lbs. (740 kilograms) of equipment, is run by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research. When the divers went to check on the site, they found out that the observatory had been stolen. It seemed like it completely vanished from the bottom of the Baltic Sea. 

 

Photo Credit: Forschungstauchzentraum der CAU (via Live Science)

 

Hermann Bange, marine biogeochemist of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, said, "The devices were gone, the divers could not find them anymore. When the divers reached the bottom of the sea last week at the observatory's location, they found only the torn-off land cable. It was completely shredded."

Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, reported that the station couldn't have been moved by a storm, tide, or large animal because it had been in a restricted water area 1.2 miles off the coast of Kiel in northern Germany. The observatory contained two heavyweight racks worth $330,000. One of those carried the power supply while the other one carried sensors. All of the equipment in the station had been being used since 1957.

 

Photo Credit: Forschungstauchzentraum der CAU (via Live Science)

 

As of now, police are investigating the case. According to an article by Science Alert, an independently run news website that covers the most important developments in the world of science and scientific research, scientists are more concerned about their precious data. "The data that we collect is downright priceless. They help research to register changes in the Baltic Sea and possibly take countermeasures,” Bange said. 

 

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