AE 1 - The search for Australias first submarine
By Mark Spencer
I led the first Australian expeditions to Turkey in 1997 and again in 1998 to examine the Turkish discovery of AE2 by diver and museum director Selcuk Kolay. The AE2 was sitting upright on a soft silty sea floor more exposed and in better condition than we could have hoped. E-class submarines are not big (176 ft or 53m long). She sat at a depth of 72 metres.
His search concentrated on the deeper waters off the Duke of York Islands and the stretch of water between there and Kokopo. Twice, he accompanied Australian Naval vessels to carry out side-scan sonar and magnetometer searches in the possible tracts of AE1. One tantalizing sonar find was followed up with a ROV inspection, appearing to show the conning tower of an E-Class submarine. The structure was dismissed by naval architects and maritime archaeologists as a natural reef with similar dimensions and profile to a conning tower.
... read the full story in the October/November 2009 issue #114
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