E/V Nautilus Reveals USS Yorktown for First Time in 25 Years

Ocean Exploration Trust’s survey of USS Yorktown during our Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli expedition was the first time the world could witness this Battle of Midway wreck in real-time. The site was discovered 25 years ago, located during a joint U.S. Navy and National Geographic Society expedition led by Dr. Robert Ballard, president and founder of Ocean Exploration Trust. All dives in the Battle of Midway battlefield were 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. 

This historic, noninvasive, visual survey dive was conducted during 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: