Explorers survey shipwrecks from Battle of Midway

  • A team has captured never-before-seen details of 3 World War II ships
  • The expedition included surveys of 3 shipwrecks at their resting site
  • Archaeologists from Japan and the U.S. assisted with the dives

(NewsNation) — A group of explorers assessed and photographed three World War II vessels, capturing the first detailed views of the ships lost during the Battle of Midway.

The team, led by Ocean Exploration Trust aboard the vessel Nautilus, conducted the first visual survey of Imperial Japanese Navy Akagi (IJN), the first detailed views of the United States Ship Yorktown since it was first located 25 years ago and a comprehensive survey of IJN Kaga, according to a news release.

The expedition took place from Sept. 8 to 12 to document the historically significant wrecks and assess their conditions in their final resting places within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM).

“This expedition is not only rewriting history and our understanding of these special places, but also pushing the limits of what we thought was possible in terms of interdisciplinary collaboration,” Daniel Wagner, chief scientist for Ocean Exploration Trust, said in the news release. “Many anti-aircraft guns were still pointing up, providing clues about the final moments on these iconic ships.”

The video surveys were streamed live at NautilusLive.org, and archaeologists from Japan, the U.S. and more than 100 experts worldwide helped guide the missions and offered real-time interpretation.

The dives were launched and closed with protocol ceremonies to honor the site, the lives lost and the families and communities they belonged to, according to the release.

“We are reminded that today’s peace and tomorrow’s discoveries are built on the sacrifices of war, and so in my view, it is meaningful that Japan and the U.S. are now deepening their cooperation at Midway, utilizing such cutting-edge technology,” said Kosei Nomura, minister and head of the economic section with the embassy of Japan.


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