World’s deepest shipwreck found
The US Navy destroyer Samuel B. Roberts was discovered earlier this week at a depth of almost seven kilometers (4.3 miles) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, which makes it the deepest shipwreck ever found, billionaire ocean explorer Victor Vescovo announced on Twitter.
“With sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet, I piloted the submersible Limiting Factor to the wreck of the Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413). Resting at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed. It was indeed the ‘destroyer escort that fought like a battleship,’” he wrote on Friday.
A torpedo rack, “undeniably from the USS Samuel B Roberts,” was found on June 18 by pilot Tim Macdonald and sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet, Vescovo, who owns the submersible, revealed earlier.
Part of the dive on the Sammy B. It appears her bow hit the seafloor with some force, causing some buckling. Her stern also separated about 5 meters on impact, but the whole wreck was together. This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end. pic.twitter.com/fvi6uB0xUQ— Victor Vescovo (@VictorVescovo) June 24, 2022
The ‘Sammy B,’ launched in January, 1944, was sunk just a few months later, in the Battle of Samar in the Philippines which is often referred to as one of the greatest last stands in naval history. The destroyer was part of a small US fleet which, despite being outnumbered and unprepared, managed to adapt to the circumstances and to contain a much stronger Japanese force. Of the Samuel B Roberts' 224-man crew, 89 were killed.
“We like to say that steel doesn’t lie and that the wrecks of these vessels are the last witnesses to the battles that they fought,” Vescovo, who is a former Navy officer, told BBC News.
Images made by the Limiting Factor show the hull structure, guns and torpedo tubes of the ship as well as holes from Japanese shells.
“The Sammy B engaged the Japanese heavy cruisers at point blank range and fired so rapidly it exhausted its ammunition; it was down to shooting smoke shells and illumination rounds just to try to set fires on the Japanese ships, and it kept firing. It was just an extraordinary act of heroism. Those men – on both sides – were fighting to the death,” Vescovo said.
The discovery of the deepest shipwreck ever found marks another in a series of records set by Vescovo. In March 2021, the ocean explorer piloted his submersible to the USS Johnston which also sank during the Battle of Samar. Two separate, eight-hour dives “constituted the deepest wreck dives, manned or unmanned, in history.”
Later that year, Vescovo completed dives to all four of the world’s 10,000-meter trenches.