The remains of an Australian ship sunk by a Japanese submarine in World War II has now been discovered by a team of archaeologists 77 years after its tragic end.
Researchers aboard the CSIRO research vessel known as Investigator found the wreckage of the Australian ship SS Iron Crown in good condition using sonar equipment and a special drop camera off the coast of Victoria.
The team hopes the discovery of the SS Iron Crown will help bring closure to the families of the seamen who died at the scene. The discovery will also help experts find out what really happened and why it happened.
The Tragic Story Of The Australian Ship SS Iron Crown
The SS Iron Crown was 100 meters long and the ship was chartered by Anglo-Australian company BHP to transport ore from Whyalla in South Australia to Newcastle in New South Wales.
In June 1942, the ore freighter SS Iron Crown sank within 60 seconds after being hit by a torpedo while traveling through the Bass Strait off the coast of Victoria.
At least 38 people out of 43 crew members were killed. Only five sailors survived.
The survivors were able to grab lifejackets, jump off the ship, and cling to wreckage until they were rescued by SS Mulbera, according to the Heritage Council of Victoria.
Peter Harvey, a marine archaeologist at Heritage Victoria, explained that there were 13 Japanese submarines operating on the coast of Australia during World War II.
The presence of Japanese submarines resulted in a significant number of casualties that no one knew about until after the war, said Harvey.
"I don't think the majority of the population was aware that there was so much enemy activity off the coast of south-eastern Australia," said Harvey.
In fact, researchers confirmed that the presence of Japanese submarines resulted in the death of 194 people and the sinking of 22 ships.
Finding The Wreckage Of The SS Iron Crown
Emily Jateff, the chief scientist of the Voyage from the Australian National Maritime Museum, said that the wreckage of the SS Iron Crown was found 100 kilometers off the coast of Victoria.
Jateff explained that the remains of the ship were relatively intact, and the ship was even sitting upright on the seafloor in about 700 meters of water.
The research team was able to map the site of the wreckage and the surrounding seafloor using sonar, and they have also taken close-up visions of SS Iron Crown using a drop camera.
The discovery of the wreckage has been reported to the Australian government, and a memorial service has been planned for the lives lost in the tragedy.
"This is an important discovery for Australia and all on board feel honored to have been involved in this successful search," added Jateff.
Major Shipwrecks Discovered By Scientists
Recently, archaeologists have been working hard to identify and find wreckages of ships or planes that were hit in World War II.
Two years ago, the CSIRO research vessel Investigator also solved another mystery by discovering the remains of SS Macumba, a merchant ship sunk by a Japanese air raid off the coast of the Northern Territory in Australia.
Meanwhile, in March 2019, the wreckage of an aircraft carrier called USS Wasp was discovered in the Coral Sea about 70 years after it was sunk during the Guadalcanal campaign. This aircraft carrier was discovered by scientists aboard the vessel RV Petrel.