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Maritime Archaeology/Marine Heritage

I-401: Largest diesel submarine ever built, found off of Barbers Point, Mar 2005.

On Thursday March 17th during a training exercise on a new navigation system, the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Lab (HURL) discovered the wreck of the Japanese World War II submarine I-401 sunk during target practice in 1946. The wreck of the I-401 was found using the new track Link 5000 HA navigation system provided by NOAA's Ocean Exploration Program. The wreck was found in 870m of water off Barbers Point, Oahu. The I-401 was one of 3 aircraft carrying submarine built in 1944. These were the largest diesel electric submarines ever built comparable in size to the largest present day nuclear submarines. They were 20 years ahead of their time. The wreck sits upright on the bottom 5 stories high and 400 feet long. The war ended before the I-401 could accomplish its mission of launching its 3 folding wing planes to attack and destroy the Panama Canal. The submarine was brought by a U.S. crew back to Hawai‘i (story at www.pacerfarm.org/i-400/ ). The I-401 was sunk by torpedoes in a target practice exercise in 1946 to prevent its technology being surrendered to the Russians under a war end agreement. The cold war was just beginning.

On March 15th, HURL also discovered the S-19 a World War I vintage submarine scuttled off Pearl Harbor in about 1938. It sits upright on the bottom in about 400m of water. Having completed this test and training mission HURL has begun a 5 month expedition to Samoa and New Zealand to dive on a series of giant volcanoes forming the eastern edge of the Indian Australia Tectonic Plate which suffered a major earthquake and tsunami on Dec 26, 2004 on its northern edge.

See Sunday's Star Bulletin Article.

I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine  

Photos below are courtesy of John M Johnson GM3, U.S. Crewmember of I-400. Submitted by his son.

I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine I-401 submarine I-401 submarine
I-401 submarine  

 

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