World War II Australian merchant ship discovered off Australia

Wreckage of an Australian merchant ship, SS Macumba,  sunk by Japanese aircraft during World War II was discovered off northern Australia after 74 years.

Sonar image of the wreckage (by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

The whereabouts of the SS Macumba had been a mystery, but a joint investigation between the Northern Territory government and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization resulted in its discovery. The 2540-ton merchant ship was sunk by two Japanese aircraft on August 6, 1943, while transporting a cargo of supplies from Sydney to  Darwin. However, the ship’s captain and 36 crewmen survived. The sunken vessel was located in the Arafura Sea after over 10 hours of search at a depth of 40 meters. The researchers believe that by now the vessel has likely formed an artificial reef, providing habitat for a variety of marine life. According to marine archaeologist David Steinberg, the site is to become a protected zone to prohibit entry into it until the researchers understand its full significance.

Photo of SS Macumba (by Australian War Memorial)

(after Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australian War Memorial & Kyodo News)

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