The best way to start an article like this is to just come out with it: we have been mislead. After numerous appeals by a "third party" my access to information request for any maps, drawings, pictures or communications regarding a German U-boat wreck at or near Muskrat Falls from the provincial Department of Natural Resources has been granted. What it discloses, despite the government not being fully forthcoming in its disclosure, is a web of secrecy and deceit regarding the U-boat wrecks at Muskrat Falls.
That's right I said "wrecks" as in plural. Government emails disclose their are actually two U-boat wreck sites at Muskrat Falls. One site, directly at the foot of the falls, being explored by Ray Tremblay of "Bomb Hunters" fame, and the other about 900 meters from it (the one I previously wrote on and that was first pictured in sonar image by Mr. Corbin). In an email from Natural Resources Assistant Deputy Minister Paul Scott in July, 2012, the provincial government acknowledges there may be two U-boat wrecks at Muskrat Falls and nearby. However, and perhaps even more importantly, the email proves Nalcor new of the one U-boat wreck as early as 2012, and had its exact location on a map.
Then in later 2012, provincial archeologist Martha Drake fired off an email to Mr. Tremblay which questioned whether he was focusing on the u-boat wreck or "... on the reported bunker site on land." That was a first for me. A bunker site on land? A German bunker site? This just keeps getting stranger and stranger. And all of it is well known by our provincial government. Here's that email:
However, the big bomb comes when, in July, 2012, Nalcor's Senior Communications Advisor Karen O'Neill sends an email to Paul Scott, copying in Nalcor's senior management team, which admits to the U-boat wreck and its exact location. The government wouldn't release the sonar scans or maps but gave a big "redacted" square instead. In the email O'Neill states:
" Attached is the side-scan of the submarine and the exact coordinates of the wreck."
Here is the complete email:
Ray Tremblay indeed sent a picture of the U-boat wreck to the provincial government in August of 2012. However, the provincial government blackened out the picture for my ATTIPA request:
What seems quite strange is that an email from Diana Quinton, Director of Communications at Tourism, Culture and Recreation which details written responses to the provincial CBC for a request on details of the U-boat. In the response Quinton clearly states:
" It has come to our attention that two groups have reported the discovery of wrecks near Muskrat Falls in the Churchill River. One group made their discovery in 2010 (and reported it to Transport Canada's Receiver of Wreck this week), while the other group made their discovery in June, 2012. The coordinates for the two wrecks are different. Therefore, we assume there could possibly be two wrecks involved."
No such mention of two wrecks was ever reported by the CBC or any other media outlet. The question remains why not? They were clearly informed of two possible U-boat wrecks in 2012. The one they reported on is about 900 meters from the Falls. The one they didn't report on was Ray Tremblay's discovery right at the foot of the Falls. That is clearly a question the CBC must answer. Given the Muskrat Falls construction very nearby the wreck it would seem logical that it might be the bigger story then the other wreck they did cover. Here's the email:
The email records, particularly between Mr. Tremblay and the provincial government departments, show that Tremblay has been doing scientific scanning and diving on the wreck site every year since 2012 to the present. For those that aren't familiar with Mr. Tremblay he is a retired Canadian Forces combat engineer - an expert in demolitions. His company is featured on History Channel's "Bomb Hunters", and he has access to a wealth of all modern scientific technology for scanning below the waters surface. In an interview with me today he detailed a number of scientific, but classified methods he and his team have used over the last three years on the U-boat wreck. They'll stay confidential here, but suffice it to say he is very well qualified in what he and his team do. During his exploration he has been in constant contact with both the Canadian (more on that later) and the German governments giving them updates as detailed in this August, 2014 email:
Later in 2014, Mr. Tremblay conducted actual dives on the wreck site, but encountered wild currents and conditions (being that the site is at the foot of the Falls). He and his team did manage to film 60 hours of video though. This email gives a good description of their work in October, 2014:
In the lead up to the October, 2014 dives Mr. Tremblay requested a member of the provincial government's archeology team dive with his team given the province's interest in the matter and its historical significance. The province declined the initiation given the government had forbid Tremblay's team from removing any dirt or objects from the site, or even the touching of them:
In May, 2015, things really start moving along - especially in the email department. It's here when Mr. Tremblay first notes that the federal government is quite quietly involved with the u-boat wreck. In fact, Mr. Tremblay actually met with the Prime Ministers Office and the Department of Canadian Heritage in Ottawa. Furthermore, Mr. Tremblay states the Prime Minister (Harper) is personally interested in the wreck site. Also, at this time the German Embassy are involved with the project. In the same email though the dark side of the U-boat wrecks is revealed. Divers are highly zealous in keeping U-boat wrecks secret until they have established their name to the discovery. Of course with that established name comes lucrative contracts from media like the History Channel. To be fair though, discovering a wreck is expensive business and all out of pocket for the diving company. The email details spying by one group on the other group during exploration. In any case, here's the 2015 email detailing the PMO's involvement, and the rest:
A June 29, 2015 email from Mr. Tremblay details further contacts he has had with the federal government and advises the provincial government on his plans for a mid August, 2015 confirmation dive as well as press conference to announce the confirmation of the U-boat wreck to the world. According to the email, Tremblay states the Canadian War Museum wants to raise the wreck and place it in the museum in Ottawa:
On that same day June 29, 2015, Nalcor Senior Communications Manager fires off a rather panicked and confused email to Martha Drake stating she thought the U-boat would be left an undisturbed wreck. The more interesting response is Ms. Drake's:
"... In the meantime, the vessel belongs to the German government".
That is a big statement. It acknowledges the provincial government knows the wreck is that of a U-boat and that as such the wreck "belongs" to the "German government". Otherwise, the German government would have no claim on the wreck at Muskrat Falls, let alone have the province's archeologist admit that Germany has ownership over it. Here's the email exchange:
On August 11, 2015 Mr. Tremblay notified provincial and federal officials of the plan for the dive (blackened out) and the date he expected to conduct his big press announcement - August 28, 2015:
In a somewhat panicked tone, Martha Drake informs other involved officials that: "..there is something in the river. I expect we can all agree on that..." She goes on to state she will craft a letter to prohibit any touching of the wreck by Mr. Tremblay's team and that she will inform Foreign Affairs of the situation:
And here is the hastily prepared letter Ms. Drake sent to Mr. Tremblay regarding the dive. It is interesting to note her cautioning of underwater unexploded munitions that may be on the site from the U-boat - especially given Mr. Tremblay's world class experience in unexploded munitions... She is very emphatic that: " ... the wreck and debris field shall not be disturbed, touched on manipulated ..." I find that a very curious instruction for a team of divers attempting to identify a U-boat. Here's why: I know of no U-boat dive that didn't require divers to touch, move and surface with articles in order to identify a German U-boat wreck. It's standard practise. Of course removing human remains is strictly forbidden (if there are any), but articles such as knives, breathing apparatus, etc are routinely removed from U-boat wrecks to identify them. For instance, in many cases U-boat numbers are on the backs of china used on the boat, or names are placed on individual escape breathing apparatus. Boat numbers are also found on torpedo doors or the ship's batteries. Most of which have to be extensively cleaned to remove decades of sea growth before they give up their information. Whether Ms. Drake's instructions are from a point of ignorance, or otherwise, they doomed the identification of the boat before the operation started.
Ms. Drake then sends an email to Nalcor and government senior staff letting them know that her letter to Mr. Tremblay was sent to Foreign Affairs. Odd that she should make that distinction if the touching of the U-boats debris field etc was for safety reasons. it is hard to see what interest Foreign Affairs might have in such a topic. It seems as though a number of people were quite determined to tie Mr. Tremblay's hands in actually identifying the U-boat, or perhaps its cargo, and that included the federal and German governments. Indeed, Reneta Lambreva, Senior Policy Advisor at Foreign Affairs responded to one Dan Mackenzie, federal government, Inter-governmental Affairs Secretariat:
"... To prepare the ground on our side, I have notified the desk for Germany as a heads up for the potential announcement involving a foreign vessel that might come out by August 28th. Keeping the desk informed will speed up things in case an action needs to be taken. "
Mr. Mackenzie then disseminates the details of the wreck that Foreign Affairs has supplied (which aren't included in the ATTIPPA release). He emphasizes the need for a coordinated approach:
Then on August 22, 2015 Mr. Tremblay fires off an excited email to Ms. Drake that confirmation diving will start on the wreck the next day. He states that the team saw a propeller with an underwater camera the day before:
Then, like a balloon that burst, a final email from Mr. Tremblay on August 31, 2015 to Ms. Drake:
" No announcement this time again..."
Given the big buildup to the dive in August, 2015, which included 10 divers, I was left somewhat dumfounded at the sudden end of email exchanges and the pronouncement of "no announcement this time again". Clearly it was a message of frustration (understandably) by Mr. Tremblay, but the reasons weren't detailed in an email. They came by way of a phone conversation he had with Ms. Drake. I contacted Mr. Tremblay to clarify what happened. His response was the sand had completely covered the wreck. Given the restrictive measures placed on him by the provincial government (my words not his) there was never any hope for identifying the U-boat number, but not being able to remove sand to expose the wreck now meant the announcement to the world had to be postponed for yet another year. Mr. Tremblay states that when the Muskrat Falls River is diverted (hopefully it won't be) his team will be able to work much better in the environment around the wreck as the currents and volumes of water will be dramatically reduced.
It's hard to visualize the U-boat wreck Mr. Tremblay has discovered as neither he nor the government will allow any pictures of it to be released. He told me the wreck is approximately 68 meters long and he believes it to be an intact type VII German U-boat. He remains completely committed and determined to be the one that exposes it once and for all, and given his work and financing of the project that should never be denied to him. that being said, as a point of history, the government and or Mr. Tremblay should release the images of the U-boat wreck so that the people of the province, and Germany, can see it once and for all. In addition, those of us with experience in identifying these sort of things may well be able to identify the boat's type by its distinctive structures. I don't believe that would in any way take away from Mr. Tremblay's exclusive claim to having discovered the wreck - it would simply share the images of it with the rest of us. For history's sake.
Of course, the other side of this story is that Nalcor, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada and the Government of Germany have kept total silence on the ongoing explorations and discoveries since the initial sonar picture of the other wreck hit the media in 2012. They have left those of us trying to expose the truth, for history's sake, on the sidelines like a bunch of crazed conspiracy theorists. Now the truth is coming out, and these emails (there are more I haven't published) prove that the U-boat wrecks at Muskrat Falls are not ghosts of the fanciful, but very real hulks of history. The question remains why? Why are these governments and Nalcor trying to cover them up?