HMNZS RESOLUTION locates underwater remnants of war in Papua New Guinea

HMNZS RESOLUTION locates underwater remnants of war in Papua New Guinea

PHOTO CAPTION: 0005 – 3D sonar graphic of a known wreck of a Japanese Zero fighter plane in 18 metres of water, Simpson Harbour, PNG.

21 October 2011

HMNZS RESOLUTION has captured 3D sonar imagery of WW2 wrecks in Simpson Harbour, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

RESOLUTION and detachments from the Royal New Zealand Navy Littoral Warfare Support Group (LWSG), including the Maritime Survey Team (MST), Mine Counter Measures Team (MCMT) and Operational Diving Team (ODT) collated data as part of an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operation.

It is the first time that imagery showing this level of detail has been captured, with RESOLUTION utilising her Multi Beam Echo Sounder (MBES) for hydrographic data. The MCMT then used their REMUS Autonomous Underwater Vehicle to progress the search into shallower water using its higher frequency sonar to identify smaller targets.

Simpson Harbour was the scene of an intense allied bombing campaign against the Japanese in WW2 and the harbour is littered with the results of this action, says Lieutenant Commander Matt Wray, Commanding Officer, HMNZS RESOLUTION. 

“The combined effort of HMNZS RESOLUTION and the Navy’s LWSG personnel to collate all this data has gone extremely well and will build our understanding and historical knowledge of what occurred.

“We have confirmed the location of a number of WW2 wrecks including aircraft and boats, two of which are believed to have been previously uncharted.”

HMNZS WELLINGTON has now joined the Australian Defence Force (ADF) led operation to support the EOD phase. The RNZN ODT and NZ Army EOD team will work alongside ADF and Papua New Guinean EOD teams to safely dispose of the stockpiles identified by RESOLUTION.

HMNZS RESOLUTION will now depart for passage to the Solomon Islands where she will next week provide support to the New Zealand High Commission and take part in the Mono Island and Vella Lavella WW2 anniversary commemorations.


For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig on 021 806 926.


This page was last reviewed on 21 October 2011.