NOAA will lead a three-week research expedition in August to study World War II shipwrecks sunk in 1942 off the coast of North Carolina during the Battle of the Atlantic.
The shipwrecks are located in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” which includes sunken vessels from U.S. and British naval fleets, merchant ships, and German U-boats.
“The information collected during this expedition will help us better understand and document this often lost chapter of America’s maritime history and its significance to the nation,” said David W. Alberg, expedition leader and superintendent of the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
“It continues the work conducted by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries last summer to research and document historically significant shipwrecks tragically lost during World War II.”
Alberg said the expedition, which happens August 4-24, will also help document the condition of these vessels some 67 years after they were lost.
Understanding the wrecks’ current condition is a crucial first step in establishing efforts to preserve these historic sites, which serve as “time capsules from one of the darkest times in the nation’s history,” he said.
This year’s project will be divided into two phases. Phase one of the expedition will be conducted aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Nancy Foster.
Using advanced remote sensing technologies, including sidescan and multibeam sonar systems, researchers will attempt to locate several previously undiscovered WWII shipwrecks.
NOAA and its expedition partners from the University of North Carolina will also deploy an advanced remotely operated vehicle to take high-definition imagery of these shipwrecks.