It has also been confirmed that there’s a significant fracture in one of the hull’s planks, according to a preliminary survey by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and indicates that the vessel is upright and largely intact.
The Department of Defence has been quoted as saying that “it is not possible at this stage to determine whether this has resulted from impact with the seabed, or was the original cause of the sinking".
The location of the ship, which sank on September 11th some 22km (14 miles) west of Belle-Île on the French northwest coast, has a sandy bottom with no significant rocks, according to the French Coast Guard. Some marine experts believe that the impact of the sinking may have caused the fracture in the plank, for instance, from a collision with a hatch cover washed off a merchant ship. Some hatch covers are fitted with iron spikes which can have a lancing effect, and are a frequent hazard in busy shipping lanes.