New Wave Media

May 11, 2022

Researchers Set to Explore Historic Shipwreck off North Carolina

The bow of the iconic Civil War ironclad Monitor resting on the seafloor off North Carolina. (Photo credit: Joe Poe, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary advisory council)

The bow of the iconic Civil War ironclad Monitor resting on the seafloor off North Carolina. (Photo credit: Joe Poe, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary advisory council)

NOAA scientists and partner researchers are set to explore the shipwreck of the USS Monitor, natural reefs and the maritime cultural landscape off the North Carolina coast, and starting May 15, the public will be able to follow along.

The two week mission — titled “Valor in the Atlantic” — will use state-of-the-art, remotely-piloted submersibles and other technologies to explore notable sites surrounding America’s first National Marine Sanctuary. The Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration is providing much of the technology for the mission, which will be livestreamed to the public from NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

“This is the first in-depth survey of both the historic and ecological habitat of the USS Monitor since NOAA and the U.S. Navy recovered the Civil War vessel’s iconic gun turret in 2002,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “The waters off North Carolina hold incredible historic and ecological value, and today’s technologies offer exciting new ways to participate in exploration and scientific discovery.”

NOAA said its National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science will analyze the imagery from the expedition to gain a better understanding of how shipwrecks serve as habitats that support marine life, while the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology will look for historical insights.

“Our team is excited to once again bring a telepresence capability to a NOAA vessel,” said Melissa Ryan, Vice President of the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration. “It is no easy feat, and takes a team of very talented engineers to be able to share this upcoming mission with the world in real time.”

Collaborating with dozens of museums, aquariums, educators and other organizations, the “Valor in the Atlantic” mission broadcast will showcase the underwater sites to students, educators, scientists and the public.

The February 2022 eMag edition of Marine Technology Reporter looks inside the world of oceanography.
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