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Maritime Heritage

Two Historic Whaling Shipwrecks Discovered in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

discovered shipwreckA team of maritime heritage archaeologists from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries discovered the sunken remains of the British whaling ship Gledstanes and another mystery whaler during an August 2008 expedition to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The wrecks were found off Kure Atoll and French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands during the month-long mission to explore and document shipwrecks in monument waters. The Gledstanes, which wrecked at Kure Atoll in 1837, was located after divers found a pile of iron ballast and chain that led to a trail into the reef, where four massive anchors and other artifacts were found scattered. Sanctuary staff are currently conducting further investigation into the identity of the other, unknown whaling ship discovered on the expedition at French Frigate Shoals. Both vessels are some of the oldest discovered thus far in the monument, shedding further light on the significance of 19th-century whaling in this region. Click here for more information.

Sanctuary Staff Host First Whaling Heritage Symposium

From June 15-19, 2008, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program hosted the inaugural 2008 Whaling Heritage Symposium, drawing over 100 attendees from diverse agencies and organizations. Participants at the symposium, the first event of its kind, explored innovative ways to tell historic whaling narratives by incorporating concepts like the cultural heritage of whaling, minorities and American whaling history, and the geography of whaling archaeology and marine protected areas. The event was well received by both public and professional attendees, and helped foster a greater appreciation for the connections between maritime and whaling heritage, marine science, and ocean stewardship. Co-sponsors for the symposium included the NOAA Fisheries Service, National Maritime Historical Society, Mystic Seaport, New Bedford Whaling Museum, and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Click here for more information.

researchVolunteer Divers, Research Vessel SRVx Debut with Shipwreck Mapping Expedition

The new Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Volunteer Dive Program undertook its first-ever mission in September 2008, as a team of NOAA-certified Scientific Divers participated in an expedition to survey the wreckage of the freighter Andalusia at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. The expedition also was the first operational mission for the new 85-foot research vessel SRVx, which is being used to evaluate the effectiveness of a regional-class research vessel for missions in sanctuaries. During the course of the mission, five volunteer divers and two sanctuary divers located and mapped significant features of the Andalusia, which grounded just outside the sanctuary in 1947. In three days of diving, they conducted 25 dives and contributed 165 hours of volunteer time. The expedition was an important one for both the volunteer dive program and the sanctuary, marking the first shipwreck dive operation in the Olympic Coast in over 10 years. Click here for more information.

Sanctuary Researchers Document World War II U-boat Wrecks off North Carolina

In July 2008, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary staff coordinated a scientific research expedition to document the remains of three sunken German U-boats off the coast of North Carolina in an area known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." Sanctuary researchers worked with several partner organizations to survey the wrecks of the submarines U-352, U-701 and U-85, which were sunk by U.S. forces during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. The survey methods used were non-invasive and complied with U.S. and international policies on the treatment of war graves. The expedition was a success, producing extensive maps, photographs and video that will contribute to the goal of preserving and protecting these sites of historical significance. U.S. and British wrecks from the Battle of the Atlantic will be surveyed during the second phase of the expedition, scheduled for summer 2009. Click here for more information.











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