The R/V Petrel is finding the secrets of Surigao Strait and Ormoc Bay

If you aren’t following Paul Allen’s page for the RV Petrel and are a fan of Pacific War shipwrecks, you are missing out.

The Seattle-based ship has been combing the location of some of the greatest battles that occurred in late 1944– those that saw the last stand of the Imperial Japanese Fleet in a last-ditch effort to slow down the U.S. reoccupation of the Philippines. This has included finding all five of the Japanese ships lost in the Surigao Strait: Yamashiro, Fuso, Yamagumo, Michishio & Asagumo.

Destroyers Michishio and Yamagumo:

One half the rangefinder from the very top of the Pagoda used for the 356mm main artillery of IJN battleship Fuso:

“Asashio Class destroyer was the southernmost wreck we found in Surigao Strait leading us to believe it was the IJN Asagumo”:

From the National Museum of the Philippines:

Paul Allen and Navigea Ltd. partner with the National Museum to continue locating and documenting WWII shipwrecks in Philippine waters.

Pursuant to its legal mandate in the areas of underwater exploration, survey and archaeology, the National Museum through its director, Jeremy Barns, recently issued permits on behalf of the Philippine Government to facilitate the location and documentation of World War II-era shipwrecks in Philippine territorial waters, focusing particularly on the areas of the Surigao Strait and Ormoc Bay where key battles took place in October, and November-December, 1944, respectively, as part of the massive Allied undertaking to liberate the country from Japanese occupation.

The permits were issued to Navigea Ltd., which owns the research vessels M/Y Octopus and R/V Petrel on behalf of American businessman, philanthropist, and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who has in recent years been undertaking undersea explorations locating lost shipwrecks around the world with a multidisciplinary team led by Robert Kraft.

This same team, working with the National Museum and the Philippine Coast Guard, discovered the wreck of the famous Japanese battleship IJN Musashi at a depth of one kilometer in the waters of the Sibuyan Sea, Romblon, in 2015. Earlier this year in August, the wreck of the USS Indianapolis was identified and filmed at the astonishing depth of 5,500 meters in the Philippine Sea about halfway between Guam and the Philippines. In the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Solomon Islands, Mr. Allen’s team explored and surveyed the wrecks of other famous ships, such as the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruiser HMS Hood and battleship Roma and discovered the destroyer Artigliere and 29 wrecks from the Battle of Guadalcanal.

In all instances, the discoveries of the exact locations of these warships of various nations, the filming of their remains and, in the case of the HMS Hood, the delicate retrieval of its ship’s bell to serve as a memorial at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, have allowed for a greater sense of closure for the descendants of the thousands of servicemen who perished at sea aboard these vessels over seven decades ago.

Navigea Ltd. will be collaborating with the National Museum, through its Cultural Properties Regulation Division and Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division, together with other national agencies such as the Philippine Coast Guard as well as concerned local governments, in this latest initiative, which hopes to provide valuable new data and actual discoveries for the benefit of naval and war historians, underwater archaeologists, stakeholder nations in addition to the Philippines and, most importantly, the families of those who were lost.

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