Monitor National National Marine Sanctuary Proposed Boundary Expansion


After several years of scientific and archaeological assessment and in coordination with the public, NOAA is proposing to expand Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off North Carolina's Outer Banks to include additional maritime heritage resources. The proposed expansion would protect a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks that currently have little or no legal protection, including one of America's only World War II battlefields.

dixie arrow on fire and sinking

The Dixie Arrow sank on March 26, 1942, when it was hit by torpedoes fired by the German U-boat U-71. Twenty-two of the 33 crew members survived.  

Credit: National Archives

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The oil tanker Dixie Arrow rests in 90 feet of water, 15 miles south of Hatteras, N.C.

Credit: NOAA

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On May 9, 1942, U-352 sunk after engaging USCG Cutter Icarus off Cape Lookout, N.C. The survivors of the battle were the first Germans captured by American forces in the war.

Credit: NOAA

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The wreck of U-701 sits in approximately 110 feet of water in shifting sands and currents off Cape Hatteras, N.C. U-701 met its fate on July 7, 1942 when it was hit by two bombs from a U.S. Army Air Force Hudson.

Credit: NOAA

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Ashkhabad partially sunk following the attack by U-402

While traveling from New York to Cuba, Ashkhabad, an oil fuel tanker, was torpedoed by U-402 in the shallow waters off Cape Lookout, N.C., with all hands surviving. 

Credit: National Archives

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E.M. Clark, an oil tanker carrying 118,000 barrels of heating oil sank on March 18, 1942, after it was attacked by U-124 just southwest of Diamond Shoals Light Buoy.

Credit: National Archives

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em clark on it's side with divers examining the wreck

The wreck of E.M. Clark rests on its side, 260 feet below the surface of the ocean off Cape Hatteras, N.C. This image is deck-level at stern.

Credit: NOAA

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diver examining wreckage of u-85

German U-boat, U-85, sank on April 14, 1942, off Nags Head, N.C. U-85 was the first enemy submarine sunk by U.S. Navy warship (USS Roper) in World War II. There were no survivors, but 29 bodies were recovered and buried at Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, VA.

Credit: NOAA

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sonar scan of the u-576

German U-boat, U-576, was attacked on July 15, 1942, during its fifth and final war deployment. The ship attacked Convoy KS-520 as the convoy was rounding Cape Hatteras, N.C. ¬†Ships and planes within the convoy responded and U-576 sank with all 45 crew members lost.

Credit: NOAA

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bedfordshire at sea

HMT Bedfordshire was a converted fishing trawler on loan from the British Royal Navy that sank on May 12, 1942, off Cape Lookout, N.C. when it was torpedoed by German U-boat, U-558. There were no survivors.

Credit: Bedfordshire Archives, United Kingdom

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The bodies of four British sailors recovered from the HMT Bedfordshire sinking are buried in a grave site on Ocracoke Island. Each May 12, formal services are held at the site.

Credit: NOAA

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Ario, an oil tanker, was struck on March 15, 1942, by a torpedo from German U-boat, U-158. While the crew abandoned ship, U-158 surfaced and opened fire on the vessel. Of the 34 crew members, only eight survived.

Credit: The Mariners' Museum

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A collection of ships filmed during NOAA's 2013 Battle of the Atlantic expedition. Ships include: Tamaupilas, Manuela, Naeco, Merak, British Splendour, Liberator, U-701, Manuela, FW Abrams, EM Clark, Merak.

Credit: John McCord, UNC-Coastal Studies Institute

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The Story of the U-701 and the YP-389

The U-701 was one of the most successful German U-boats to patrol the waters off the Outer Banks. One of the U-701's victims was a small patrol vessel, the YP-389. Being such a modest and insignificant vessel, the U-701 did not believe the YP-389 was worth a torpedo, and instead sunk it with its 88 mm deck gun. Not long after, the U-701 met the same fate as it was sunk by Army aircraft. Surprisingly, the final resting place of both vessels remained unknown for quite a long time. The U-701 was discovered by a scuba diver in 1989 and in 2009, the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary discovered the YP-389 using a sonar system and remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

Credit: NOAA

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WWI and WWII off the Coast of North Carolina

The German U-boats stationed off the coast of the North Carolina during World War II were extremely successful in early 1942. The unique, offshore environment gave them a distinct advantage and they were able to wreak havoc on the merchant ships that travelled along the busy shipping lanes off of the Outer Banks. The area soon became known as Torpedo Junction because of the hundreds of ships that were sunk there.

Credit: NOAA

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