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Ocean Explorers Find Navy Ship Off Philippines, Marking Deepest Shipwreck Ever Surveyed

Victor Vescovo
 

Ocean explorers found a World War II-era U.S. Navy ship more than 22,000 feet underwater, in what they say is the deepest shipwreck ever surveyed and identified.

Submersible pilot Victor Vescovo and sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet found the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts, known as the “Sammy B,” off the coast of the Philippines’s Samar Island on June 22. The ship was broken into two pieces roughly 33 feet apart, according to Caladan Oceanic, which was founded by Mr. Vescovo, and EYOS Expeditions, an expeditions company.

The ship took part in the Battle off Samar against the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1944, part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the biggest naval battles in history.

The Sammy B was part of a U.S. Navy unit known as Taffy 3 that was responsible for delaying and damaging the Japanese fleet. The Sammy B was hit by a Japanese battleship and other vessels and sank. Roughly 90 of the more than 220-person crew aboard the ship died. Four other ships were lost in the battle.

The depth at which the destroyer escort was found was almost 1,400 feet deeper than the depth at which Mr. Vescovo found the USS Johnston last year.

The explorers did six dives over eight days to look for both the Sammy B and another ship, the USS Gambier Bay. They were unable to find the second ship.

Caladan Oceanic and EYOS Expeditions said that all data associated with the dive will go to the U.S. Navy.

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