Resurface of mystery

Volume 50, No. 10, June 14, 2007
An enduring Naval mystery has resurfaced with mixed results.

The Huon class minehunter HMAS Yarra recently searched for the WW1 submarine HMAS AE1 in the vicinity of the Duke of York Islands in Papua New Guinea. Hopes of finding AE1 were raised when the Navy survey ship HMAS Benalla identified what was thought to be a man made submerged object using her towed side scan sonar in February.

Yarra (LCDR Sean Andrews) searched a 50 sq km area around the position of the object identified by Benalla. The object detected by Benalla’s sonar was confirmed to be a submarine shaped rock formation.

The complex bottom topography created some significant challenges in the conduct of the search and provided a number of possible objects of interest for Yarra’s ship’s company to investigate. All objects discovered will be further analysed when the camera footage of the underwater search is returned to Australia.

The crew of Yarra conducted a memorial service to commemorate the loss of AE1.