Search For the Hospital Ship Centaur

Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australia: Centaur search to begin next month, with equipment on way to Queensland
quote:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Anna Bligh today announced the deep-sea search equipment to be used in the hunt for the Centaur off Queensland's coast is on its way to Australia.

The project team is now in the final stages of planning for the search, which is expected to begin in mid December.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=63110
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australia. HMAS Sydney II arrives for Centaur search
quote:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Anna Bligh today announced the ship wreck hunter who found HMAS Sydney II had arrived in Australia to start the search for the Centaur.


David Mearns, principal of Bluewater Recoveries and the Director of the successful search for HMAS Sydney II, arrived in Brisbane yesterday to oversee final preparations for the search for Australian Hospital Ship Centaur.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=63641
 
Dec 8, 2000
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And now for the good news: AHS Centaur has been found, on 20 December. Torpedoed ship found off QLD coast:
quote:

A memorial service will be held to honour those who died on the torpedoed World War II hospital ship Centaur, which has been found off Moreton Island near Brisbane.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said shipwreck hunters found the ship about 4.30am (AEST) today, much earlier than they expected, 2,059m below the surface, 30 nautical miles due east from the southern tip of Moreton Island.

It will be marked as a military gravesite and protected by an exclusion zone.
 
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We'll have some photos in January when Mearns and team are back from their break.

A neat bit of sychronicity I wasn't aware of: AHS Centaur was one of the ships that picked up survivors of Kormoran, the German raider that sank after sinking HMAS Sydney. (Or rather, Centaur towed surviving crew including Captain Detmers in lifeboats back to Carnavon, WA.) The wrecks of the Kormoran and Sydney were also located, after years of mystery and even controversy, by Mearns only in March 2008. So there you go.
 
Dec 8, 2000
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Well a future project is Shackleton's Endurance.
happy.gif


David Mearns has a search diary hosted on the website of Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh: Search diary.

Amongst the information on the search and finding, and praise for his team's work, Mearns pays particular tribute to Centaur's navigator, Gordon Rippon:
quote:

The approximate position of the wreck is 27°16.98’S, 153°59.22’E at a depth of 2,059 metres. Remarkably this position is less than one nautical mile from the dead reckoning position I calculated from Gordon Rippon’s track. I can’t remember finding a wreck as close to the position reported by a primary source witness, which proves just how precise Rippon’s navigation was. Before the search commenced there were serious and legitimate questions posed about whether Rippon could have actually seen Pt. Lookout light from the 23 nautical mile distance that formed the basis of his navigation. However, the close proximity of the wreck to Rippon’s track is about the best testament you could make to man whose life was spent navigating the high seas.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australia. Centaur commemoration taskforce announced
quote:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Anna Bligh today announced a special taskforce will be established to determine the best way to commemorate the sinking of the Centaur.

The AHS Centaur was sunk without warning by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943, about 50 miles east north-east of Brisbane. Of the 332 persons on board, only 64 survived.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=64040
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Yahoo News:

WWII sinking of Australian hospital ship 'unclear'
quote:

SYDNEY (AFP) — Japan on Wednesday said the circumstances surrounding the sinking of an Australian hospital ship in WWII were unclear, after deep-sea searchers found the vessel's watery grave.
More at http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091223/wl_asia_afp/australiajapanwwiihistoryship

Comment: Not clear that she was sunk during the Second World War? The loss occured on 14 May 1943 at the hands of an Imperial Navy submarine! How much more clear can you get???​
 
Dec 8, 2000
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Er... You've misunderstood that item, although Yahoo's news service seems to have misunderstood the basics too.

The lack of clarity referred to is around the circumstances under which Centaur was attacked and sank, including ongoing controversy/conspiracy about munitions - as ever. There's no question about Centaur being sunk by enemy action in WWII.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australia. Robot submarine arrives to film Centaur wreck
quote:

The robot submarine that will film the wreck of the AHS Centaur over two kilometres underwater has arrived in Brisbane.

Acting Premier Paul Lucas inspected the Remotely Operated Vehicle or ROV today.

"It was an unforgettable moment when the news came through that search Director David Mearns had found the Centaur early on the morning of December 20," said Mr Lucas.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=64344
 
Dec 8, 2000
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From Clear video footage confirms Centaur's watery grave:
quote:

The crew of 34 aboard the government-owned Seahorse Spirit took the first underwater footage of the Centaur at 2.50am yesterday during a six-hour mission to the wreck....

...Mr Mearns found sonar footage of the Centaur wreck on December 20 last year, 48 kilometres east of the southern tip of Moreton Island at a depth of 2059 metres. But he knew the family and friends of those who perished would never have closure until conclusive evidence identifying the ship was taken.

For filming the Centaur, Mr Mearns sent a submarine robot down to identify three distinguishable features: the ship's bright red cross, a distinctive star on the bow, and a corroded identification number 47.

''It's a great relief for everybody, the sonar images were very clear to us… but we knew we needed to bring back conclusive video-graphic proof,'' Mr Mearns said.
There's more detail available at the Search Diary site: Centaur Search Diary.

And photos clearly showing the red cross and other identifying marks are available in the photo gallery: visual confirmation.

Absolutely no doubt about it, the Centaur has been found.​
 
Dec 8, 2000
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From the Brisbane Times, a news item on today's memorial service at sea, including some photos of the wreck.

Brisbane's Courier Mail has a lot of Centaur material available online for anyone interested, complete with a helpful index page, although the URL has too many commas to post a clickable link. Copy'n'paste www.couriermail.com.au /indepth/section/0,,5017790,00.html if interested, and remove the space just after .au.

Highlights are:
~ an an interactive special
~ photos of the wreck at http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/gallery/0,23816,5064092-17382,00.html
~ a link to the Transcript of the War Crimes Commission inquiry, 1944
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Breitbart:

Australia gov't was advised not to rap Japanese sinking of WWII ship+
quote:


SYDNEY, Jan. 21 (AP) - (Kyodo)–Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's government was advised by defense officials in 2008 not to comment on Japanese responsibility for the sinking of an Australian hospital ship during World War II, fearing it could damage bilateral defense ties, The Australian newspaper reported Thursday.
More at http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9DC0VM80&show_article=1