Over the course of the next week and a bit, you're invited to join the NOAA and partners to explore the watery depths of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary using remotely-piloted submarines in search of some of the best-preserved shipwrecks known to hide off the coast of North Carolina.
Today, May 16, they will be live-streaming the exploration of E.M. Clark, one of the largest intact US merchant shipwrecks from the World War 2 era.
E.M. Clark is a US tanker ship whose job during WW2 was to transport petroleum products to support the Allied war effort both at home and abroad. The ship measures a massive 79 meters (260 feet) from stern to bow and remains in remarkably good condition, making it an ideal wreck to explore and survey. It was sunk off the coast of North Carolina on March 18, 1942, after it was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat. The ship sunk quickly, with all but one of 41 crew members escaping alive on two lifeboats.
The adventure to the wreck of E.M. Clark is just one part of the Valor in the Atlantic expedition by NOAA and the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE), running from May 15 until May 25. Livestreams of all of this can be seen in the players below.
One of the main stops of this journey is to the final resting place of the USS Monitor, a Civil War vessel that sank 160 years ago 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the coast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. The vessel was rediscovered in 1973 laying on the seabed at a depth of approximately 73 meters (240 feet).
“This is the first in-depth survey of both the historic and ecological habitat of the USS Monitor since NOAA and the U.S. Navy recovered the Civil War vessel’s iconic gun turret in 2002,” Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said in a press release. “The waters off North Carolina hold incredible historic and ecological value, and today’s technologies offer exciting new ways to participate in exploration and scientific discovery.”
To protect this stunning relic of American history, its discovery sparked the creation of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, a 1.6-kilometer-wide (1 mile) area of water surrounding this vessel that affords official protection. Along with the Civil War's USS Monitor, the coast of North Carolina is also home to E.M. Clark and dozens of other Allied and German vessels that perished in WW2, as well as a handful of ships from WW1 and the inter-war period.
Stay tuned to the live streams above for more!