Friday, March 24, 2006

Australian team to salvage old U.S. sub ‘Explorer’; 1st case of decompression sickness ?

March 24th, 2006

United Press International has an interesting story published on March 20, 2006 from Panama City, Panama.

“A team of Australians plan to salvage a U.S. submarine from the Civil War era 130 years after it was beached on a Panamanian island, a member of the team has said.

Built by Julius Kroehl in 1865 to counter the Confederate vessel Hunley, the hand-powered submarine was identified in 2002 by James Delgado, imminent marine archaelogist.

Believing the rusting hulk to be a WWII Japanese midget submarine, the Panamanians allowed the vessel to lie at the tide line, deteriorating. The 'Explorer', a 59-foot vessel, was built too late to play a decisive role in the Civil War and was sent to trawl for pearls in the Gulf of Panama. However, the sub was abandoned 11 days into its maiden voyage, after collecting 10 tons of pearl shell, when divers on board succumbed to decompression sickness.

James Delgado, Marine Archaelogist has an interesting article describing his investigation of the submarine in 2002-2004 at http://www.jamesdelgado.com/archaeologist.htm .

He is also quoted in this article at http://www.treasurenet.com/westeast/data/headlines/robots/200503.htm . He is quoted as stating that Kroehl possibly was the first reported case of decompression sickness.