60-Second Science

Expedition Finds World War II Navy Wreck

A National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration expedition has located a naval vessel lost off North Carolina during World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. Steve Mirsky reports

[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], spends most of its time trying to understand and predict changes in the environment, along with conserving and managing coastal and marine resources. But its scientific expertise also just made it possible to locate the remains of a U.S. Navy patrol boat sunk by a German submarine in World War II.

The ship is the YP-389, which went down about 20 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on June 19, 1942. Six sailors were killed in the attack. The wreck was found in 300 feet of water, in an area called the Graveyard of the Atlantic. That region is the final resting place for more than 80 American, British and German vessels lost in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The discovery was made during a summer archaeological expedition to research and document historically significant World War II shipwrecks. The remains will be surveyed, photographed and documented non-invasively, as the lost boats and ships are considered war graves. The researchers will also survey the marine life that has found a home among the ruins.

—Steve Mirsky

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