The Baltic Anomaly: The Original Ocean X Team?

The ultra-strange Baltic Anomaly has baffled the world for over a year. It was discovered by a group of treasure hunters calling themselves the Ocean X Team. But where did the Team come from? And how did they first achieve fame in the treasure hunting world?

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

On June 19, 2011, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a massive object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. Peter Lindberg, co-founder of the Ocean X Team, jokingly declared “Hey guys, we have a UFO!” However, after a new expedition, the Team discovered the Anomaly primarily consisted of large rocks. The exact nature of those rocks, which we call the Circle, as well as a 985 foot runway leading up to them (the Tracks), remain mysteries.

Since that time, the Ocean X Team has released a few photographs and provided lots of mysterious information via interviews. However, very little concrete data has emerged. Skeptics, including us, have questioned whether or not the Baltic Anomaly is a “hoax” of sorts.

In our view, the Anomaly has intriguing profit potential. The Team has a documentary deal with Titan television. They’ve gained valuable equipment and funds via sponsorships with Ocean Modules, SeaLabs, and Silvercrest Submarines (this equipment has also been used to search for other wrecks). In addition, they’ve indicated a desire to use a new submarine to take wealthy tourists to view the Baltic Anomaly close-up.

The Ocean X Team has vigorously defended itself from charges of a hoax. They claim to be ordinary treasure hunters who happened to stumble upon a strange mystery. They have assured the world that they want answers just as badly as everyone else.

The Champagne Wreck

In 1916, the Swedish schooner Jönköping sailed out of Gävle, on route to Finland. In her cargo holds, the Jönköping carried “4400 bottles of 1907 Heidesieck Champagne ‘Goût Americain’, 67 large barrels of Cognac and 17 regular barrels of wine.”

At the time, Europe was broiled in World War I. Thus, the Jönköping’s alcohol was meant for Russian officers. However, the schooner was stopped by SM U-22, a German submarine. Since the Jönköping also carried some railroad-related “war materials,” the submarine’s officers chose to sink it.

In 1994, Claes Bergvall and Peter Lindberg discovered information about the wreck in local court archives. Three years later, they discovered it under 210 feet of water using side-scan sonar. Apparently, the hull was in excellent shape. Claes and Peter formed a company named C-Star and proceeded to acquire the rights to the cargo.

C-Star divers started to salvage the champagne bottles. Remarkably, the corks had stayed in place and the icy conditions of the Baltic Sea had kept the alcohol well-preserved.

“French experts who tasted some of the champagne recovered earlier have rated it exceptional and ideally preserved by the cold, dark Baltic.” ~ John Acher, Yo-Ho-Ho, Sea Salvagers find Champagne, Cognac

At the same time, C-Star announced their ambitious places for the ship. They wanted to raise it to the surface, salvage the rest of the alcohol, and turn it into a floating museum of sorts. However, bad weather thwarted their efforts.

In 1998, disaster struck. A Finnish businessman named Peter Fryckman took out a ship, hired some divers, and began salvaging the bottles for himself. Although he had no salvage rights to the ship, Fryckman claimed some of the bottles rightfully belonged to his great-grandfather, and thus to him.

He was unable to prove his claim however, and on July 3, 1998, Fryckman’s team was forced to abandon the site. Claes and Peter proceeded to poach Fryckman’s divers in exchange for 25% of the haul. In turn, Fryckman began auctioning off his illegally-obtained bottles.

On July 24, C-Star successfully lifted the Jönköping off the bottom. The cargo was removed from the wreck. However, the ship was determined to be unsuitable for a museum ship. Thus, it was dumped back into the Baltic Sea.

Apparently, the barrels of cognac were unrecoverable. We’re not sure about the wine. However, a Christie’s auction in October 1998 hints that the 2,000 champagne bottles might’ve been worth around $8 million dollars at that time. For those of you who are interested, Peter Lindberg wrote a book about the project in 2003.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

We don’t know whether or not Dennis Åsberg, the other co-founder of the Ocean X Team, was part of C-Star in 1997. His name is not listed in any of the articles we’ve read. Still, C-Star can easily be viewed as a sort of predecessor to the Ocean X Team.

When they first “saw” the Baltic Anomaly, Peter and Dennis were searching for a shipwreck similar to the Jönköping. According to various media reports, this wreck contained cases of an extremely rare brand of champagne. We suspect it was the Louis Roederer Crystal, referred to by the Ocean X Team as the Tzar’s champagne.

C-Star shares some similarities with the current Ocean X Team. First, they were big dreamers. Raising a ship off the bottom of the seafloor was fairly audacious. Wanting to create a floating museum out of it was even more audacious. It brings to mind the Ocean X Team’s massive publicity campaign and lucrative tourist-centered plans for the Baltic Anomaly.

Second, C-Star overcame large odds to achieve success. They fended off a rival treasure hunter and managed to recover a valuable cargo. And although we’ve been critical of the Ocean X Team, the fact remains that they’ve conducted an initial investigation, complete with some photos, of the Anomaly. Incidentally, Peter Lindberg revealed last night during a chat with the Team’s Facebook group that initial analysis of samples taken from around the site (but not from the Anomaly itself) have been completed. One rock is apparently common to the Baltic region but is normally found under the Earth’s crust (which might give some credence to our black smoker theory). Another rock is supposedly typical to the mid-Atlantic seafloor.

Will the Ocean X Team ever solve the mystery behind the Baltic Anomaly? In all honesty, we remain skeptical. However, the Team is planning another expedition for July 10. They hope to recover rock samples from the Anomaly as well as possibly investigate a second site (the so-called Window). Hopefully, we’ll know more at that point.


Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

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