Researchers have discovered a preserved “ghost ship” in 2,000 feet of water nearly 20 miles off the coast of Oahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands.
The wreckage of the former cable ship Dickenson, later the USS Kailua, was found in good shape on the seabed last year on a maritime heritage submersible mission.
“The ship was surprisingly intact for a vessel that was sunk with a torpedo. The upper deck structures from the bow to the stern were well-preserved and showed no sign of torpedo damage,” said Terry Kerby, Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory’s (HURL) submersible pilot.
Launched in Chester, Pennsylvania in early 1923 for the Commercial Pacific Cable Company, Dickenson was a vital part of a global network of submarine cable that carried telecommunications around the world.
“From her interisland service to her role in Pacific communications and then World War II, Dickenson today is like a museum exhibit resting in the darkness, reminding us of these specific elements of Pacific history,” noted Hans Van Tilburg from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
During the World War II, the former USS Kailua was sunk as a target by submarine torpedo fire on February 7, 1946. The exact location was not recorded, and the final resting place of the ship had remained a mystery.
“Seeing the ship come into view, we were all amazed at its level of preservation and by the fact that everything was more or less in place. The identification of the wreck was easy, not only because of its unique form, but also because the Navy’s identification number of IX-71 was still painted on the bow,” said James Delgado, director of the Maritime Heritage Programme. (IANS)