Skip to main content

WWI-Era Submarine Found in Remote Waters off Papua New Guinea

hmas ae1 shipwreck
The HMAS AE1 was discovered off the coast of Papua New Guinea, 103 years after it vanished beneath the waves. (Image credit: © Commonwealth of Australia)

A downed navy submarine that vanished 103 years ago was recently discovered in the remote ocean area around Papua New Guinea.

The Australian Navy submarine HMAS AE1 was discovered near the Duke of York Islands off Papua New Guinea roughly 1,000 feet (300 meters) beneath the ocean's surface, according to a statement.

The HMAS AE1 went missing off Rabaul, Papua New Guinea on Sept. 14, 1914, and all 35 Australian and New Zealander crewmembers aboard were lost. The loss was the first one incurred by the Australian Navy during World War I. [TK See Images of Sunken Submarine Off Papua New Guinea]

An expedition to find the lost vessel was recently initiated and funded by the Australian Government, the Silentworld Foundation, the Australian National Maritime Museum and Find AE1 Ltd. The team used aerial drones and a multi-beam echo sounder to scan the seafloor. The ship was first discovered this month by a search vessel named "Furgro Equator," and a small service to commemorate those who lost their lives was conducted on the ship.

Dozens of ships were lost in the waters of Oceania inWorld War II's Pacific Theater, but only a handful, such as Germany's SMS Planet, were sunk during World War I.

Originally published on Live Science.

Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News,, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.