The first submarine to serve the Royal Australian Navy was lost without a trace on September 14, 1914 while patrolling waters off then German New Guinea. Despite several search attempts over the last century, the fate of the vessel and the men on board remains unknown to this day.
As part of a new search mission to find the missing HMAS AE1 submarine and its crew, Dutch geosciences company Fugro said its personnel on board survey vessel Fugro Equator will use a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder to conduct a bathymetric survey and a sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicle for close examination of the search area.
The expedition will be led by the not-for-profit-company Find AE1 Ltd, with support from Fugro, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Submarine Institute of Australia. Another not-for-profit organization, Silentworld Foundation, which focuses on Australasian maritime archaeology, and the Royal Australian Navy are also major sponsors funding the efforts to locate this piece of Australian history and enable proper commemoration.
The Australian Government said it would match private investment to fund the expedition to search for HMAS AE1 and its crew of Australian, New Zealand and British personnel. Minister for Defense, Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, said the government would provide $500,000 to allow Find AE1 Ltd to proceed.
“HMAS AE1 is one of the world’s great maritime mysteries, and this expedition will be one of the most comprehensive searches for the submarine,” Minister Payne said. “The Government is proud to join the Silentworld Foundation, Australian National Maritime Museum and Fugro in supporting Find AE1.”