The aircraft carrier „Graf Zeppelin“ was the only aircraft carrier Germany ever built.

Deep Wreck Project is conducting the First scientific research expedition to this wreck.

it selected renowned cave diver pedro balordi from switzerland and Aquatec – innerspace operations Ltd. to conduct the lead diver and several other expedition functions for this project.

the expedition involves the production of a documentary film and the archaeological research covering the subjects of:

1. Is the wreck in the Baltic Sea really the “Graf Zeppelin“?

2. Would the use of the finished aircraft carrier have changed the war?

history synopsis

Start of construction: 1937.

December 8, 1938 Launch of the Graf Zeppelin at Deutsche Werk, Kiel, Germany

1945 scuttled in the estuary of the Mönne by German troops.

salvaged by Russia.

Later KGB-office of the Russians during WWII.

1947 sunk in the Baltic Sea by the Russian military during tests and research for sinking huge aircraft carriers.

2006 accidentally found by a pipeline construction company (petrobaltic).

vessel data

Type: aircraft carrier

Displacement, standard: 19,250 tons

Displacement, full load: 28,100 tons

Length, overall: 246.96m

Beam: 26.97m

Draught (mean): 5.59m

Flight deck: 240.75 x 26.97m

Complement: 1,760 + air crew

Machinery speed: steam geared turbines 200,000shp (149,260kw) to four shafts

Speed: 32 knots

Armament: sixteen 5.9-inch (4x2, 8x1), twelve 4.1-inch anti-aircraft, twenty-two 37mm anti-aircraft, twenty-eight 20mm aircraft

Armor: belt: up to 9cm, deck : up to 3.8cm, flight deck: up to 1.9cm, casemates for 5.9-inch guns. Initial design did not include bulges. But when construction was revised in 1942, she was equipped with bulges at Kiel during winter 1942-43. The bulges proved their effectiveness when she received her first torpedo hit during the tests by the Soviets. The bulges were completely destroyed, but the armor belt remained intact. Sides appear to be armored for two-thirds of length amidships, and to a lesser extent as far as bow, which is of bulbous form. Will have island superstructure on starboard side

Aircraft: 40: 18
Ju 87C, 22 sea-version
Me 109T

expedition time line

is two weeks and it is planned to start The scientific part of the expedition in may 2009 with mob in Gdynia, Poland.

Depending on weather conditions the expedition incorporates four reserve days into the time window.

the team

is composed of dive instructors, research and scientific deep divers, underwater archaeologists, camera teams, historians, ship crews, technicians, ROV-operators, crews for the submersible and press.

the research vessels

are The Polish vessel “IMOR“ and the Belgian vessel “Cdt Fourcault“. 

Film crews, scientists, historians and journalists will work on board the “IMOR where ROV’s and other scientific equipment will be deployed to the wreck of the “Graf Zeppelin“. All accommodation will be on the dive support vessel “Cdt Fourcault“, from which the manned deep dive operations take place.

Accommodation and food is included. Divers and personnel will be accommodated on the "Cdt Fourcault" in one- and two-bed cabins. Gas fills have to be paid separately. Sofno lime will be free.

dive plan

For our documentary: “Flugzeugträger Graf Zeppelin - Hitler’s Traumschiff“ we will explore the wreck to a depth of -80 meters using divers, ROV’s and a submersible.

Working depth will be between -80 and -50 meters. There will be no salvage of any part of the wreck as our documentation and research is non-destructive.

The wreck is in a maximum depth of about -80 meters. The upper structure of the ship reaches a depth to -50 meters. We plan to illuminate the superstructure of the wreck, like the bridge and other parts. The wreck is partially covered by fishing nets that might be dangerous for divers, submersible and ROV’s. As long as divers are in the water, offshore RIBs are ready for emergency response. A decompression chamber is on site.

an emergency management chain is already set up to Europe’s most sophisticated and modern decompression facility.

During the manned deep dive operations, a scientific study is being conducted to compare micro bubbles in divers using closed circuit rebreathers compared to open circuit dive technology. This is the largest and most complete study about build-up of micro bubbles during mixed gas diving.


There is an undefined mystery about the existence of the wreck with its extraordinary high tech construction. In her times she was considered to be the most sophisticated aircraft carrier. Still, the concept regarding her use in war was not. There were no support vessels planned, nor were there airplanes capable to be used on an aircraft carrier.  Hitler’s dream of a huge invincible aircraft carrier was never completed.

On site the main focus is on producing the documentary about the aircraft carrier „Graf Zeppelin“. At the time we wrote this information we raised interest with TV-channels, like ARTE, ARD / MDR, National Geographic and numerous other channels. Internationally, the documentary might be broadcasted by National Geographic America and BBC.

Deep Wreck Project has reserved the copyright on all video, print and photo material. Any other person or company not complying with this regulation will be fined with a minimum of 300.000 EURo.


On the BOOT-09 exhibition, Deep Wreck Project went public for the first time and was able to generate a high impact within the international media. All important dive magazines in Germany, like „Tauchen“, „Unterwasser“, „Aquanaut“ and „Seastar“ are keen to report about our project before and after the expedition. Journalists from the famous magazine „Spiegel“ will be on site reporting about the expedition. The internet platforms „“ and „SeaStar“ are covering the expedition online while the international print media like „x-ray-mag“ in the USA, „Nurkowanie“ in Poland and „“ in France are going to write about the expedition.

On the BOOT-09 exhibition we had the possibility to present our project four times to the audience. This expedition presentation showed a high potential to raise massive interest in the public. Additionally many companies from the dive industry are interested to sponsor the expedition. They will be linked via our website thus increasing visitor traffic and exposure of their products.


We have different ways how you can support the expedition to the „Graf Zeppelin“.

If you are a sponsor, we provide a high presence in the film, print and internet media.

If you want to participate at the expedition a certain financial amount for diving and accommodation is necessary. As such you are one of these guest divers and you will be one of the first diving the „Graf Zeppelin“. The order of diving depends on the amount of your sponsoring. The highest bidder will be the first diver. The two first divers will be named at the end of the film documentary.

becoming a main sponsor can be achieved by sponsoring a higher financial amount. In this case as a main sponsor your company logo will be shown at the end of the documentary and on all print products published by Deep Wreck Project. You even can have your company logo placed on one of the expedition vessels.

About Deep Wreck Project

The company was founded in 2008 by Dr. Andreas M. Stolpe, Bernd Očić M.A. and Christian Schramm. The accumulation of competence from different business fields of PR, marketing, media, offshore-technology / -search and underwater technology guaranties a positive development of the company.

Dr. Andreas M. Stolpe has been conducting several dive expeditions and documentaries in the past, including cooperation with the Maritime Museum (CMM) in Danzig – Germany. He is member of the DEGUWA (German Society for Underwater Archaeology) and he is also a NAS-certified tutor for underwater archaeology.

Bernd Očić M.A. CMB. ST is a marine geologist and researcher and specialist for underwater-inspection off- and onshore with his ROV and Sonar equipment.

Christian Schramm is developer and manufacturer of underwater equipment, especially underwater light-systems. He has the appropriate skills in underwater archaeology techniques and is also a member of the DEGUWA.

The primary goal of Deep Wreck Project is to tell the stories and histories of important sunken ships. Besides producing a documentary the aim is educational information. In our opinion, this is the only way to demonstrate the audience the value of a wreck as a „time capsule“. If this is understood, man will learn and understand the value of our cultural marine heritage and the reasoning and necessity to protect wrecks.

Our specialties are - besides our professional work – that we do our work in greater water depths.

Additionally, wrecks at deeper water depths are usually in a better condition due to specific environmental conditions. Because of our business-principle, to research deep wrecks, we are in the position to open new possibilities in documenting important cultural and historic wreck sites. Undisturbed wrecks contain information, which can be extracted by scientists. As soon as a wreck site is disturbed in an unprofessional manner, information is lost for ever.

Our documentary about the aircraft carrier „Graf Zeppelin“ will not be our only film project. Several adventurous and interesting expeditions are already planned and work is in progress.


Deep Wreck Project

Meller Str. 2

33613 Bielefeld

t: +49 (0) 176 65 14 63 75