Search locates missing Australian WWI submarine AE1

FUGRO Survey
FUGRO Survey

More than 103 years since her loss, World War I submarine HMAS AE1 has been located in waters off the Duke of York Island group in Papua New Guinea.

The first Allied and Royal Australian Navy submarine lost in World War I went missing off the coast of the Duke of York Islands on September 1914.

The Royal Australian Navy and the Silentworld Foundation commissioned the 13th search to find the 55-metre-long AE1 and the 35 Australian, British and New Zealand men entombed within.

The team of maritime surveyors, marine archaeologists and naval historians aboard Fugro Equator scoured the search area with a multi-beam echo sounder and side-scan technology in an underwater drone 40 metres above the sea bed on pre-programmed 20-hour missions.

The data collected was analysed and a three-dimensional rendering of the underwater environment was produced before dropping a camera to confirm the find 300 metres under water.

The search was led by Find AE1 Limited, and was funded by the Royal Australian Navy and the Silentworld Foundation, with assistance from the Submarine Institute of Australia, the Australian National Maritime Museum, Fugro Survey and the Papua New Guinea Government.

The exact location of the wreck will be kept under wraps for now, with the Australian Government working with the Papua New Guinea Government to preserve the underwater site and to form a plan for a lasting commemoration.

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