NOAAʻs Deep Discoverer ROV shines its lights on the S-19 submarine resting ~ 415 meters deep. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana. Download larger version (jpg, 1.6 MB).
Dive 07 visited the hull of the World War I-era submarine, S-19, which now rests on the ocean bottom at 414 meters depth in the middle of a sand expanse. The vessel was intentionally scuttled by the Navy in 1938 and now serves as a relatively new feature of hard bottom habitat (~ 75 years old) for deep corals to colonize. A complete survey of the of the full deck area of the S-19 hull was conducted with attention to the deep coral community growing on it, looking for any evidence of recent arrival of the parasitic gold coral. Observations on the condition of the S-19 itself indicate the submarine is relatively intact, aside from features removed prior to disposal, and is resting on its midship section. Scour craters exist beneath both the unsupported bow and stern. Deterioration, flexing, and active corrosion of the hull and weather deck is very low compared to other sunken submarines. The survey was particularly useful for understanding the salvage operations completed prior to sinking. Diesel engines, superstructure, anchor, rudder and stern dive planes, propellers and shafts, and rotating bow planes had all been removed before the sub was scuttled. In addition to surveying the submarine and deep coral community growing on it, a flow meter instrument deployed in 2013 was recovered from the stern of the S-19, and the team practiced deployment and recovery of a mock-up tilt meter instrument to inform future operations.