Latest Blog

13 December 2018. New unidentified Japanese WWII tug wreck in Truk Lagoon

Here's the link to my video tour on my YouTube channel of this newly located and as yet unidentified Imperial Japanese Navy WWII tug wreck off Weno.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYfVkiE7IsE&t=7s

 
12 December 2018. NEW JAPANESE WRECK LOCATED IN TRUK LAGOON

Just back from a couple of weeks diving the famous Japanese WWII wreck at Truk Lagoon in the Pacific, the world's greatest collection of Japanese wartime shipwrecks. It has been quite a long time since a new WWII wreck was located in the lagoon, but I was priviledged to be taken out by Truk Stop Dive Centre

Read more...
 
30 October 2018. Des épaves du monde

Just back from a long weekend in Orkney filming with a french TV company about the Scapa Flow wrecks for a documentary series on shipwrecks around the world. These guys were hard core - they did The Big Blue with Jean Reno and have worked on Titanic - much respect! 

 
16 October 2018. Shipwrecks of Scapa Flow chart available again

A few years ago I had a unique A1 size full colour chart of Scapa Flow professionally created by the artist who has created all my shipwreck illustrations for me over the years, not just in Scapa Flow but also in Truk, Palau etc. The Scapa shipwreck illustrations were added to the chart in the correct locations with some text about the indivdual wrecks and the Scapa story as a whole. The resulting chart is stunning - and is currently on public display outside the Ferry Terminal in Stromness.

Read more...
 

RSS

2 October 2017. Video of unidentified auxiliary sub chaser at Palau released

A mystery shipwreck.

In WWII, the Japanese Navy requisitioned a number of smaller vessels, such as trawlers and whalers, for war use.

These were fitted out with a bow gun and anti submarine warfare equipment such as sonar, depth charges, paravanes. These small vessels were slow, feebly armed and were only suitable for coastal work, patrols, inshore convoy escort.

Operation Desecrate 1 - 30/31 March 1944.
As U.S. Task Force 58 closed on Palau, the 12 carrier strong battle group with its screen of battleships, cruisers, submarines and destroyers was spotted. TF 58 abandoned its clandestine approach and increased speed to head directly for Palau - to give the Japanese defenders as little time to prepare as possible. 

In Palau, a large convoy of naval transports was formed up - and on the morning of 30 March it began to move up the west side of the islands of Palau, to try and escape the lagoon through West Pass before the American attacked.
They were too late - as U.S. aircraft swooped from the skies, a few of the van of destroyer escorts had successfully moved through West Pass into open water, but the large transport ships were all caught inside the lagoon and attacked. 
All would be sunk.
In about 2014/15 the wreck of a small vessel was found near the entrance to West Pass in 50msw. It had only been dived once before (when it was found) before we were taken to dive it by Sam's Tours whilst I was researching for Dive Palau - the Shipwrecks. It became clear to me that this was an auxiliary sub chaser and my research flagged up a likely ID as Showa Maru No 5 - formerly the whaler Galicia, built in 1924.
When we went to print with Dive Palau, I gave Showa Maru No 5 as my best guess for its ID - but highlighted that there were a number of other Japanese requisitioned whalers sunk at Palau, whose identities are not clear. I gave the cylinder head sizes recorded at Lloyds for her triple expansion engine and suggested in Dive Palau that someone should go measure them, as that can be a way of ruling in or out an ID of a vessel. 
When I went back to Palau last year, to launch the book at Sam's Tours, we went back to this wreck. Chris Rowland and I measured the beam - and this coincides with Lloyds' beam measurement.
However ..... when we measured the cylinder heads they did not agree with the Lloyds records. The means either the wreck is not Showa Maru No 5 - or that she was re-engined when she was requisitioned and her old 1924 engine changed out for a more modern engine. 
So, the jury is still out on this wreck until some clincher is found for her ID.
Here's a short video I shot of the wreck on our first dive on it in 2015 with Paul Haynes, Gary Petrie, Mike Gerken and Paul Collins - hope you enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEwaE0IZ7Bc