Marian Clough

Americans, Ukrainians pool resources to find sunken WWII-era hospital ship

Scientific research

By Sandra Jontz

The waters are deep and murky, but with high-tech equipment — and a little good luck — U.S. and Ukrainian oceanographers and scientists hope to find a World War II Soviet-flagged hospital ship that was sunk with 7,000 people on board.

The oceanographic survey ship USNS Pathfinder, under Military Sealift Command, started searching Sunday in Ukrainian territorial waters for the SS Armenia, sunk in 1941 by the German Luftwaffe, one of the world’s most powerful air forces at the time, officials said.

"This would be a significant find," said Marian Clough, senior Naval Oceanographic Office representative on board. "Over 7,000 people died when that hospital ship was bombed from the air. It went down in four minutes and was a serious of loss of life. It is very significant to the Ukrainians. …

There were wounded soldiers on board, and also families, women and children who were allowed to visit the ship, and the crew of the vessel. It was quite a wide group of people."