AN UNDERWATER search for AE1 – the Royal Australian Navy’s first submarine – will continue after an underwater search uncovered some contacts of interest.
Australian Navy Minehunter HMAS Yarra carried out a search for the vessel near Mioko Island, part of the Duke of York Islands, off East New Britain Province, on 9 September.
Some of the contacts discovered in the three-day search were classified as natural objects, but one remains unidentified and will require further investigation, subject to naval operational requirements.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, said that these types of contacts were frequent in the region due to large rocky outcrops or ridging along the sea bed, as well as battle debris from the war
“The sea bed in the search area is a very steep volcanic shelf with numerous large rocks. The water deepens quickly as it extends from the coast,” he said.
“It is important that we pause to remember and reflect upon those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as did the crew of AE1, so early in the First World War.”
The Royal Australian Navy works closely with the Government of Papua New Guinea, traditional communities and other government departments to investigate contacts as they are reported.
Crew from the HMAS Yarra also attended WWI commemoration ceremonies at Simpson Harbour, in Blanche Bay, and at the the Bita Paka War Cemetary outside Rabaul.