Probable WWll submarine wreck found in Papua New Guinea

Probable WWll submarine wreck found in Papua New Guinea

PHOTO04 - Sonar image of a section of an uncharted wreck found by Australian Defence personnel off the coast of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea during Operation RENDER SAFE 2011. Royal Australian Navy copyright.

28 October 2011

HMNZS RESOLUTION has assisted in the discovery of a probable WWII submarine wreck in Simpson Harbour, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Australian Minehunter HMAS GASCOYNE has further investigated the uncharted wreck which RESOLUTION located in around 54 metres of water. Work to identify the type and nationality of the vessel is now underway.

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

“We confirmed the location of a number of WWII wrecks including aircraft and other small craft, as well as at least two previously uncharted wrecks. This data was passed on to HMA Ships GASCOYNE and DIAMANTINA for further investigation and they believe they have identified a submarine wreck.”

RESOLUTION and detachments from the Royal New Zealand Navy Littoral Warfare Support Group (LWSG) collated the data as part of an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operation led by the Australian Defence Force.

It is the first time that imagery showing this level of detail has been captured of Simpson Harbour, with RESOLUTION utilising her Multi Beam Echo Sounder (MBES).

HMNZS WELLINGTON has joined the operation to support the EOD phase and RNZN Operational Diving Team and NZ Army EOD teams are working alongside ADF and Papua New Guinean EOD teams to safely dispose of the stockpiles of unexploded ordnance.


This page was last reviewed on 30 October 2011.