The deepest known shipwreck in the world was finally explored as the destroyer USS Johnston, which was in the Philippine Sea | Science & Tech News was filmed

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A mission funded by two former US Navy officers completed the first survey of the USS Johnston, the deepest known shipwreck in the world.

The destroyer USS Johnston was sunk on October 25, 1944 during one of the greatest naval battles in history and sank 6.5 km to the bottom of the Philippine Sea in the Pacific. It wasn’t until 2019.

Now a company called Caladan Oceanic has used a hand-operated submersible to locate, survey, and film the WWII shipwreck for the first time in a series of dives.

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The USS Johnston was sunk during World War II. Image: US Navy

When the USS Johnston hired its captain, Commander Ernest Evans – an Oklahoma man with three Native American grandparents – told his crew that he would “never run from a fight” and that “anyone who did not want to be in danger did so.” would have “better get out now.” None of his crew did this.

When it was intact, the USS Johnston was 150 feet long, but when it was discovered in 2019 the ship was in several parts.

A remote-controlled vehicle could film parts of the ship, but much of the debris was too deep for the underwater drone to inspect.

The Caladan Oceanic submersible had no such depth restrictions and can accommodate two passengers to inspect wrecks and other deep-sea items of interest.

The hull number 557 is clearly visible in the footage they captured.

The crew of the submersible who filmed the shipwreck. Image: Nick Verola / Caladan Oceanic
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(L-R) Shane Eigler, Victor Vescovo, Parks Stephenson. Image: Nick Verola / Caladan Oceanic

The team made several trips to locate the wreck in the Philippine Sea.

When it was found, Victor Vescovo – the pilot – brought either engineer Shane Eigler or naval historian Parks Stephenson to investigate the destroyer.

Mr. Vescovo is a retired U.S. Navy Commander, while Mr. Sephenson was previously a U.S. Navy Commander in Chief. Mr. Eigler is a submarine technician.

According to Caladan Oceanic, the wreck was significantly harder to find than the RMS Titanic, 62% deeper in the water, but also much smaller than a ship – about 43% the length and only 5% of the Titanic’s total displacement or size.

Mr Vescovo says he has ongoing discussions with the Navy Heritage and History Command regarding the investigation of the wreck, not only with a view to preserving it but also regarding the respect of the resting place for many of its crew members.

Of the 327 men who manned the ship, only 141 survived the battle off the Philippine island of Samar.

The wreck of the USS Johnston was filmed for the first time. Image: Victor Vescovo / Caladan Oceanic
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The wreck of the USS Johnston was filmed for the first time. Image: Victor Vescovo / Caladan Oceanic

Mr Vescovo said, “We have a strict ‘Look, Don’t Touch’ policy, but we are collecting a lot of material that is very useful to historians and naval archivists. I believe it is important work which is why I do it privately and privately finance We deliver the material to the Navy free of charge. “

“The Johnston wreck is a sacred site,” said Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, director of the Naval Command for History and Heritage.

“I deeply appreciate that Commander Vescovo and his team showed such care and respect in touring the ship, the permanent resting place of their brave crew,” he added, noting that three other ships were lost in battle have not yet been found.



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