In 1997 and 1998, an Australian team led by Mark Spencer visited Turkey 's Sea of Marmara twice to verify the identity of the AE2 submarine.
AE2 Submarine to be revisited in September, 2007!
In September, 2007, a further joint Turkish-Australian expedition to the Sea of Marmara will undertake a more detailed and comprehensive archaeological investigation of the AE2 submarine as well as further stills and video documentation.
This big project is mostly funded by the Australian Government, but corporate and private sponsors are being sought to assist the shortfall of funding.
The expedition (and ongoing matters relating to the future of the AE2) is being managed by the AE2 Commemorative Foundation Ltd, established by the Submarine Institute of Australia Inc ( www. submarineinstitute .com ) in collaboration with the Turkish Institute for Nautical Archaeology (TINA).
This new expedition is a much bigger operation than the previous 1997/98 expeditions and will comprise a team of 11 divers plus ancillary and support personnel. Two major differences between the 1998 expedition and the 2007 will be the use of new diving and camera technology, closed-circuit rebreathers (CCR's) with communications to allow the divers longer working time on the bottom and safer diving generally (especially with decompression on ascent), and the use of digital camera technology to allow instant review of results and better control of exposure, latitude and picture clarity.
Important Components of 2007 AE2 Submarine Expedition:
The Maritime Archaeological Assessment (MAA) of AE2 Submarine
Maritime Archaeologist Tim Smith (who accompanied the divers on the 1997/98 trips and wrote the official reports) is again director in charge of the more detailed archaeological examinations of the submarine. The main aim is to assess the condition of the wreck to allow intelligent and informed decisions to be made regarding the future management of the wreck and the site generally. Options for future management range from leaving it on the seafloor as it is (but protected from trawler and shipping activity and slowing the rate of corrosion) to recovering the submarine and ultimately displaying the submarine in a wet or dry environment. The latter option is ambitious and probably untenable due to technical and financial considerations, but is nevertheless an option amongst a range of options that will be considered.
The scientific testing of the site includes corrosion testing, plate thickness measurement using ultra-sonic instruments, substrate (sediment) sampling, measurement surveys, biological sampling, remote sonar surveying of the immediate seafloor topography, sub-bottom profiling, remote operated vehicle (ROV) usage around and possibly inside the wreck, and the insertion of a drop camera inside the working space of the submarine via the access hatch in the conning tower.
Dr Ian MacLeod, internationally-respected metallurgist and corrosion scientist from the Western Australian Maritime Museum , will accompany the expedition and assist with the scientific examination of the wreck and analysis of results. Dr Roger Neill, chief scientist with the Defence, Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Melbourne , will accompany colleagues from the DSTO responsible for the operation of ROVs and drop cameras. SonarTech Atlas (a supplier of sonar equipment to the defence and commerce industries) plan to use their sophisticated equipment to image the wreck and surrounding seascape with state-of-the-art sonar technology.
The detailed documentation of AE2 Submarine and the expedition.
Further stills photography will be performed by Mark Spencer with assistance by fellow photographer Craig Howell from Victoria . The challenges met by Mark in the 1998 expedition in photographing the wreck will hopefully be met with some fresh new techniques and approaches, as well as the employment of the Nikon D200 digital camera housed in a Seacam alloy housing.
The expedition has chosen Electric Pictures ( http://www.electricpictures.com.au ) from Western Australia as their official documentary producer. Electric Pictures (EP) has collaborated with Mallison-Sadler Productions (Crispin Sadler and Andrew Solomon) from the UK as co-producers, who will contribute their considerable experience in the production of underwater shipwreck documentaries. British technical diver Dan Stevenson will be their underwater cameraman. EP/MS are planning a one-hour (possibly 90 min) documentary for TV broadcast in Australia and world-wide networks.
All divers will use closed-circuit rebreathers (CCR's) while surveying and working on the wreck. This technology was chosen over surface-supply delivery of breathing gas for the freedom it provides cameramen in the documentation of the site, and the maneuverability allowed to divers on the bottom carrying out the tasks they will be assigned.
All divers will use a modified form of full face mask (half mask over the eyes and nose with a separate mouth 'pod') with communications between divers and the surface. The surface vessel will be equipped with a twin-lock recompression chamber. A hyperbaric physician and chamber technician will be on-site throughout the exercise. Richard Taylor (Director of TDI/SDI Australia www.tdisdi.com.au ) is Director of Diving Operations and Diving Supervisor. Richard carried out the same task in the 1997/98 expedition. All diving operations will comply with (Australian Standards) AS 2299.3 (2003) Occupational Diving Operation - Recreational Industry Diving and Snorkeling Operations.
Reference material on AE2 Submarine
The following magazines, journals or books have information on the AE2 and/or Mark's AE2 Expeditions: