More than 99 years after it was scuttled in the First World War, a project to record, preserve and tell the story of the wreck of Australian submarine AE2, laying at the bottom of Turkey’s Sea of Marmara, is underway.
AE2 is one of the last untouched Gallipoli battlefield sites, and with the dedicated work of a team of Australian submariners, scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and US Remotely Operated Vehicle designers, SeaBotix, the submarine will be protected and preserved on the sea floor for many years to come.
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation has developed new and novel solutions to support the current expedition; including the high-definition camera and sophisticated lighting system.
The camera inspected the wreck and successfully captured its entire length, including her forward and aft hydroplanes, rudder and tops of her propellers.
A protection system has also been installed around the wreck to control corrosion and a marker buoy to protect it from shipping traffic, anchors and fishing nets.
Named ‘Silent ANZAC,’ the project is a joint Australian and Turkish initiative, led by a team from the AE2 Commemorative Foundation and Submarine Institute of Australia.
On 30 April 1915, AE2 was attacked with gunfire from Ottoman torpedo boat Sultanhisar and scuttled by her commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Stoker. All of AE2’s crew were rescued by the Sultanhisar as the submarine slid silently to the sea floor.
Up to the time of her loss, AE2 had logged some 35,000 nautical miles, mostly under war conditions.
The wreck of AE2 was discovered in 73 meters of water in the Sea of Marmara in 1998 by Turkish maritime historian Selçuk Kolay OAM.
The Silent ANZAC project is an initiative of the Anzac Centenary Program 2014-2018, funded by the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs in partnership with the Turkish Government Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Press Release, July 03, 2014; Image: Australian Navy