First Visual Survey of IJN Akagi 赤城 - Historic Battle of Midway Shipwreck
Ocean Exploration Trust’s visual survey of the Japanese aircraft carrier Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Akagi 赤城 is the first time anyone has laid eyes on the vessel since sinking during June 1942’s Battle of Midway. Akagi was initially located during a mapping survey conducted by Vulcan, Inc. in 2019 that involved U.S. Navy participation. On September 10, 2023, E/V Nautilus team spent 14 hours surveying Akagi, examining battle and seafloor collision damage in the ship’s structure. The dive was launched and closed with protocol ceremonies to honor this place and all who lost their lives in ways that reflected their significance to Kānaka ʻOiwi (Native Hawaiian), Japanese, and U.S. military families and communities.
These historic, noninvasive, visual survey dives were conducted during the E/V Nautilus Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli expedition, a 27-day NOAA-funded mission to explore never-before-seen deep-water habitats to collect baseline data needed to support management in the most remote and northwestern section of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). PMNM is a UNESCO World Heritage site distinguished for both its cultural and natural significance, the only site with this special distinction in the U.S. It is currently being considered for national marine sanctuary designation to safeguard further its diverse natural, cultural, and maritime heritage resources for generations to come.
The Battle of Midway surveys were made possible by the expertise, support, and collaboration of many partners including Ocean Exploration Trust, NOAA Ocean Exploration, NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, SEARCH, Inc., U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, International Midway Memorial Foundation, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the State of Hawaiʻi, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, University of Maryland, University of Rhode Island, University of Hawaiʻi, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Air/Sea Heritage Foundation, and Japanese archaeological colleagues from Teikyo University, Tokai University, and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.
Learn more about this expedition funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute: https://nautiluslive.org/cruise/na154
Ocean Exploration Trust and partners will conduct a telepresence-enabled expedition to explore unseen deep-sea habitats aboard E/V Nautilus with ROV and seafloor mapping operations in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) focused on the largely unexplored northwestern section of the Monument.