Paul G. Allen, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, has reportedly located the wreck of Musashi, a Japanese WWII battleship.
Allen and his team of researchers began their search for the Musashi more than eight years ago. Using historical records from four countries, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology aboard his yacht, M/Y Octopus, Allen and his team located the battleship in the Sibuyan Sea on March 1, 2015. Allen informed about the discovery through his Twitter account.
The team combined historical data with advanced technology to narrow the search area. Allen commissioned a hypsometric bathymetric survey of the ocean floor to determine the terrain.
In February 2015, the team set out to conduct the final phase of the search using a Bluefin-12 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). Because the search area had been so narrowly defined by the survey, the AUV was able to detect the wreckage of Musashi on only its third dive. A Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) with a high-definition camera confirmed the identity of the wreckage as Musashi.
On his website Allen wrote: “Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army.”
“The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction. I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honoring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her.”
Commissioned in 1942, the Musashi was the largest battleship in naval history, weighing in at 73,000 tons fully loaded. It featured eighteen-inch armor plating and was armed with nine eighteen-inch guns, the largest ever mounted on a warship.
Utmost secrecy was maintained by the shipyard in Nagasaki during the construction; the entire length of the ship was hidden from view to prevent the Allied Forces from learning of its construction.
Active in several battles, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Musashi was eventually sunk by an estimated 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs on October 24, 1944 in the lead up to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Of Musashi’s 2,399 crew members, nearly half lost their lives including the Commander Vice Admiral Toshihira Inoguchi.
Allen said that he and his research team intend to work with the Japanese government to ensure the Musashi site is treated respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions.