A photo shows the wreckage of a German submarine which ran aground off the coasts of the city of Wissant in July 1917 and has recently resurfaced due to to sand movements on the beach of Wissant, near Calais, northern France, on January 9, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: The wreck of a First World War German submarine is gradually resurfacing on a beach in northern French after decades of being buried in the sand.

Shifting sand off Wissant, near Calais, is exposing the remains of the UC-61 which was stranded there in July 1917, the BBC reported on Saturday.

The crew flooded the vessel and abandoned it and by the 1930s the submarine had largely been buried.

It is now becoming a tourist attraction again, although the local mayor warns it may only be a fleeting visit.

Since December, two sections of the submarine have been visible at low tide about 330ft (100m) from the dunes.

“The wreck is visible briefly every two to three years, depending on the tides and the wind that leads to sand movements, but a good gust of wind and the wreck will disappear again,” BBC quoted Wissant Mayor Bernard Bracq as saying.

German submarines, known as U-boats, targeted Allied shipping during First World War, sinking hundreds of vessels.

Historians say the UC-61 was credited with sinking at least 11 ships, either by laying mines or by firing torpedoes.

On its last journey, the submarine had left Zeebrugge in Belgium and was heading to Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Havre to lay mines when it ran aground.

The 26 crewmen surrendered to the French authorities.