Australian WW2 sub victim found in 700m
The Australian ore-carrier Iron Crown, sunk by a Japanese submarine during World War Two, has been discovered by marine archaeologists in deep water in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania.
The 100m vessel was torpedoed on 4 June, 1942, while heavily laden with manganese ore, and sank within a minute with the loss of 38 lives, leaving only five survivors.
23 April 2019
The wreck was located about 60 miles south of the Victoria-New South Wales border during a multibeam sonar survey.
The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) led the expedition, using the Hobart-based research vessel Investigator, operated by the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
The search area was selected following preliminary research by Victoria’s Maritime Archaeology Association. The Iron Crown is one of only four WW2 shipwrecks in Victorian waters, and the only one to have been torpedoed by a submarine.
Voyage Chief Scientist Emily Jateff from the ANMM, who led the search, said that the wreck appeared to be relatively intact. “The ship is sitting upright on the seafloor in about 700m of water,” she said. “We have mapped the site and surrounding seafloor using sonar but have also taken a lot of close-up vision of the ship structure using a drop camera.
“This will allow us to create a composite image of the whole site to assist in follow-up surveys for its conservation and management.”
The images showed the intact bow with railings, anchor-chains and both anchors still in position, along with other deck structures.
“This is an important discovery for Australia,” said Jateff. “The fact that so many lives were lost in the sinking of Iron Crown was something that hit home with all scientists, staff and ship-crew working on board Investigator.”
The discovery is said to form part of a new cross-government approach to seabed surveying in Australia, designed to help improve maritime charts and knowledge of its maritime history. Wrecks and artefacts more than 75 years old are designated under the country’s Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.