Pearl Harbor

NOAA will livestream dives to Japanese mini subs near Pearl Harbor

The conning tower of the mini submarine sunk by the USS Ward (Credit: University of Hawaiʻi/HURL).

The conning tower of the mini submarine sunk by the USS Ward (Credit: University of Hawaiʻi/HURL).

On Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, NOAA will livestream dives to two Japanese mini submarines, the first of which was sunk by the USS Ward prior to the attack.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will use an underwater robot operated from its ship Okeanos Explorer to send back images from the wreck sites, which are near Pearl Harbor.

"Until now, only a handful of explorers and scientists have seen these relics of the war in the deep sea," said James Delgado, director of maritime heritage at the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, in a press release. "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."


NOAA explains that, on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, U.S. naval vessels and aircraft on patrol outside Pearl Harbor saw a partially submerged submarine attempting to enter the harbor, but alerts were not immediately sent out. Some 90 minutes before Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese aircraft the USS Ward fired on the mini sub and sank it, marking the first U.S. shots fired in World War II.

The second submarine disappeared on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, but was discovered in shallow waters in 1951 and raised by the U.S. Navy. The sub was then taken out to sea and dumped in deeper water, before its rediscovery by the University of Hawai’i’s Undersea Research Laboratory in 1992. The last time the wreck was visited by the university’s submersibles was in 2013.

NOAA told that the first livestreamed dive, which will visit the submarine sank by the USS Ward, will start at 11:30 a.m. ET and is expected to end at 1:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. The dive to the second submarine, which is lying in three pieces, will start at 4:30 p.m. ET and end at 7:00 p.m. ET Wednesday.


The livestream will be available here.

Last year NOAA and the University of Hawai’i released incredible images of a U.S. Navy seaplane sunk during the opening minutes of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Earlier this year scientists also released stunning images of the light aircraft carrier USS Independence, which was intentionally sunk off California in 1951.

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