The ship, identified as the USS Independence, rests in the waters off the Farallon Islands in California, US
Sunken WWII-era ship is exceptionally well preserved
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This past Thursday, April 16,researchers announced the discovery of a World War II-era ship in the waters off the coast of the Farallon Islands in California, US.
The ship, identified as the USS Independence, sits at a depth of about 2,600 feet (nearly 800 meters). Despite having spent decades on the ocean floor, it is in very good condition.
As illustrated in the sonar image included in the gallery below, the ship’s hull and its flight deck are almost intact. Besides, the vessel appears to still house a plane in its hangar bay.
“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” James Delgado with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries said in a statement.
The vessel had a busy life
In a report detailing the ship’s discovery, researchers with NOAA explain that, between November 1943 and August 1945, the USS Independence was involved in military operations in the Pacific Ocean.
In 1946, following the end of World War II, the aircraft and dozens other vessels were sent to the Bikini Atoll area, where they were subjected to atomic bomb tests carried out so that the US Navy could assess the effect of shock waves, heat and radiation on a fleet.
“This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship,” NOAA’s James Delgado told the press in an interview.
In its later years, the USS Independence was the focus of decontamination studies. Eventually, the US Navy decided to retire it, and come January 1951, the former WWII aircraft carrier was purposely sunk.
How the ship was discovered
The sunken USS Independence was discovered with the help of an autonomous underwater vehicle dubbed Echo Ranger and that NOAA researchers got from The Boeing Company.
The underwater vehicle, measuring an impressive 18.5 feet (5.6 meters) in length, used an integrated 3D-imaging sonar system to scan the ocean floor and thus managed to identify the ship’s remains.
Data provided by the Echo Ranger indicates that, rather than resting on one side or in some other awkward position, the USS Independence sits upright, albeit a tad tilted towards its starboard.
For the time being, there are no plans to send underwater archaeologists to explore the ship. Instead, NASA investigators are content with knowing its location and the images deliver by the Echo Ranger.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY (5 Images)