How can we Protect the Oceans From the Threat Posed by Oil Inside Sunken Shipwrecks?

Lenz Connor Bätzing

Februar / February - 2023

Hochschule Magdeburg Stendal

Bachelor of Arts


There are more than 8,500 sunken shipwrecks worldwide, containing up to 20 million tons of oil. Heavy oil is one of the most harmful pollutants of all, andposes an enormous threat to the environment in these amounts. “Vrakbock” is a concept for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that can extract oil out of sunken shipwrecks in order to protect the ocean from oil spills. The AUVs work together in a swarm and salvage the oil by drilling holes through the ship’s wall and pumping it out of the wreck into inflatable balloon-tanks. Once inside the balloons, the oil is transported safely back to shore where it can be recycled. The size of the swarm and the number of balloon-tanks needed can be adjusted modularly for the specific requirements at every wreck site. The AUVs can also access multiple oil tanks at the same time, which means the extraction can be done comparatively quickly.