Date
22 November 2017
More than 70 years after it sank during World War II, the Musashi was found in the Sibuyan Sea near the central Philippine island of Visayas. Photo: Wikipedia
More than 70 years after it sank during World War II, the Musashi was found in the Sibuyan Sea near the central Philippine island of Visayas. Photo: Wikipedia

Billionaire finds sunken Japanese warship off Philippine coast

The Japanese battleship Musashi, one of the biggest war vessels ever built, has been found off the coast of the Philippines more than 70 years after it sank during World War II.

The wreck of the 862-foot-long (263 meters), 73,000-ton (66,225 metric tons) ship was found by an expedition team led by billionaire Paul Allen, the co-founder of software giant Microsoft, in the Sibuyan Sea near the central Philippine island of Visayas, according to Live Science.

“Mr. Allen has been searching for the Musashi for more than eight years, and its discovery will not only help fill in the narrative of WWII’s Pacific theater, but bring closure to the families of those lost,” a statement on Allen’s website said.

The Musashi sank on Oct. 24, 1944 amid heavy bombardment from American forces during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. More than 1,000 members of the ship’s 2,399-person crew were killed.

The Musashi and her sister ship, the Yamato, were considered the heaviest and most powerful battleships ever built, but both didn’t survive the war.

The Yamato sank during a fierce battle for Okinawa on April, 7 1945. In the 1980s, shipwreck hunters found the Yamato 180 miles (290 kilometers) southwest of Kyushu, one of the main islands of Japan. The ship was split in two and was found resting at a depth of 1,120 feet (340 m).

Allen’s team, who scoured the seas aboard his high-tech 414-foot-long (125 meters) yacht, the M/Y Octopus, has not given much information about exactly where and how they found the vessel.

But according to a news release, they drew from historical records from four different countries, topographical data and advanced technology aboard the M/Y Octopus to determine the shipwreck’s location.

It was finally discovered about 3,280 feet (1 km) below the sea surface, according a tweet from Allen.

Underwater footage of the wreck shows several parts of the ship, including a catapult system that was used to launch float planes, a wheel on a valve from an engineering area that had Japanese script, the turret from an 18-inch (46 centimeters) naval gun, a 15-ton anchor and the battleship’s bow.

Allen’s team is coordinating with the Japanese government to ensure the Musashi’s wreck is treated “respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions”, Live Science said.

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