To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour, NOAA scientists will explore two Japanese mini submarines sunk by the USS Ward just prior to the attack. You can watch it live right here starting at 3:30AM AEDT.
The Japanese mini submarine HA-19 (similar to the mini sub sunk by the USS Ward), which washed ashore on December 8, 1941. (Image: Naval History and Heritage Command)
The conning tower of the mini submarine sunk by the USS Ward. (Image: University of Hawaiʻi/HURL)
A remotely operated vehicle deployed off the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer will transmit a video feed of the two wrecks. This will be the first time that the public will be able to watch a live underwater exploration of sunken submarines as it’s happening.
“Until now, only a handful of explorers and scientists have seen these relics of the war in the deep sea,” noted James Delgado, the director of maritime heritage at the NOAA, in a statement. “But thanks to technology, anyone and everyone can now dive with us in the first live exploration of the ‘midget’ submarines that represent the beginning of the war in the Pacific.”
Here’s what you need to know about the subs, courtesy of the NOAA:
On the morning of December 7, 1941, U.S. naval vessels and aircraft on patrol outside Pearl Harbour spotted a partially submerged submarine trying to enter the harbour, but alerts were not immediately sent. Ninety minutes before Pearl Harbour was bombed by air, the destroyer USS Ward fired on the mini submarine, sinking the sub. The event marks the first U.S. shots fired and the country’s entry into World War II in the Pacific. The NOAA team will dive on the wreck of this submarine.
The second submarine to be explored during the dive disappeared on the morning of December 7, 1941. It was discovered in shallow waters in 1951, raised by the U.S. Navy, and taken out to sea to be dumped in deeper water. In 1992, the University of Hawaiʻi’s Undersea Research Laboratory rediscovered it. It has been periodically visited by the university’s submersibles, the last time in 2013.
The live-stream action gets started at 3:30AM.