New Wave Media

March 27, 2018

Greensea Aids Historical Shipwreck Discoveries

  • One of USS Lexington's anti-aircraft guns (Image: Vulcan Inc.)
  • Control Room on board RV Petrel. (Image: Vulcan Inc.)
  • The prop of the USS Juneau resting on the seafloor. (Image: Vulcan Inc.)
  • One of USS Lexington's anti-aircraft guns (Image: Vulcan Inc.) One of USS Lexington's anti-aircraft guns (Image: Vulcan Inc.)
  • Control Room on board RV Petrel. (Image: Vulcan Inc.) Control Room on board RV Petrel. (Image: Vulcan Inc.)
  • The prop of the USS Juneau resting on the seafloor. (Image: Vulcan Inc.) The prop of the USS Juneau resting on the seafloor. (Image: Vulcan Inc.)

The expedition crew aboard Paul G. Allen owned research vessel Petrel has continued it string of high-profile shipwreck discoveries. The crew found the USS Lexington on March 4, resting 3,000 meters below the surface on the floor of the Coral Sea more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia. The discovery was quickly followed by the sighting of the USS Juneau on March 17, 4,200 meters subsea off the coast of the Solomon Islands.

Tasked to research, explore and survey historic warships and other important artifacts, the 250-foot R/V Petrel is fitted with state-of-the-art technologies, including equipment capable of diving to 6,000 meters and inertial navigation, system control and autonomy technologies  provided by Greensea Systems, Inc.

Greensea’s software, utilized by Vulcan Inc. in the recent historic discoveries, is part of the technological advancement facilitating exploration at extreme depths. The Greensea OPENSEA operating platform provides a unified, integrated system and supervised autonomy to R/V Petrel’s ROV with cutting-edge features such as automated ascent and descent winch control system, synchronized pilot and co-pilot chairs, integrated system control touchscreen displays, and a multi-vehicle user interface.

Since launching Petrel, Allen’s underwater research team has discovered more than a dozen lost naval ships, including the USS Indianapolis, USS Ward, USS Cooper and several Japanese warships.

The two recent discoveries of WWII ships USS Lexington and USS Juneau, have particular historical significance. Lexington is one of the first aircraft carriers built and commissioned by the U.S., and Juneau, discovered on St. Patrick’s Day, carried the famous Sullivan Brothers who became national heroes after touching the hearts of Americans. The five close-knit brothers were all lost at sea when the Juneau sank during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Their deaths lead to the U.S. War Department adopting the Sole Survivor Policy which includes separation policies for family survivorship. In total, 687 men perished when the Juneau sank.

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