Mare inside takes you on board the Groppo and the Arturo Volpe


By John

The appointment with “is backSea Inside“, the program of Rtp and that takes you into the depths of the Strait of Messina to tell you the stories of the wrecks. Today there will be space for two ships: the Groppo and the Arturo Volpe. The first lies inside the Port near the Base military, the second in the waters of Mortelle and Torre Faro. Appointment at 3.15 pm with two exciting stories.


The Royal Ship Notice Escort Groppo was a modern unit belonging to the Ciclone class. The torpedo boat had been specifically designed to escort convoys along the treacherous routes to North Africa; it entered service in the summer of 1942 and operated intensively in escort duties on the routes between Italy, Libya and Tunisia. It is May 25, 1943: the torpedo boat was moored in Messina to refuel when the city was devastated by the incursions of the B-24s of the 9th and the B-17s of the 12th USAAF (United States Army Air Forces): both the targets (port, ships and railway yard) and the city, with numerous civilian victims. Among the ships hit there was also the Groppo, which sank in the waters in front of the torpedo dock of the Military Naval Base, inside the port. In 2013, with the coordination of the Superintendence of the Sea of ​​the Sicilian Region, a diving campaign was conducted aimed at studying the wreck of the Torpedo boat Groppo. The SDAI unit of the Navy stationed in Augusta and the 3rd diving unit of the Coast Guard of Messina participated in the dives. Logistical support was provided by the Messina Arsenale Defense Industries Agency. The wreck is heavily heeled on its left side with the bow facing east.

Arturo Volpe

Born as Jupiter in 1950 in Germany. Steamship was part of a small merchant fleet, made up of 5 sister ships, of which only the Volpe is still “visible”, as the wreck lies on a seabed that goes from about 50 meters to over 70 metres, with the structures of the hull that rise from the bottom for about ten meters, in the waters between Mortelle and Torre Faro, not very far from the Valfiorita wreck. For the historical memory of the inhabitants of Torre Faro, the wreck is called “The timber ship” because it was carrying a load of timber, still visible underwater, and sank on 26 February 1973 due to a storm. The hull rests on the seabed with a depth ranging from approximately 50 meters to over 70 metres. The hull structures, still in good condition, rise 10-12 meters from the bottom; with the cargo still present and clearly distinguishable in the holds. This wreck, like the Valfiorita, also has excellent visibility, thanks also to the currents which do not allow the deposition of particles on the surface.