AE1 search inconclusive

Published on LEUT Kara Wansbury (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): Rabaul, PNG, Duke of York Island, PNG

Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mine Warfare Ryan McDonald (right) and Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mine Warfare Rodney Burnett guide the Mine Disposal Vehicle outboard from HMAS Yarra to investigate an underwater sonar contact in the waters of Papua New Guinea. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mine Warfare Ryan McDonald (right) and Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mine Warfare Rodney Burnett guide the Mine Disposal Vehicle outboard from HMAS Yarra to investigate an underwater sonar contact in the waters of Papua New Guinea.

HMAS Yarra has completed a mission to search for the Royal Australian Navy submarine, HMAS AE1, off the Duke of York Islands, Papua New Guinea, which has resulted in the discovery of a number of contacts of interest.
 
Some of the contacts discovered in the search from 6-9 September were able to be classified as natural objects. One contact remains unidentified and will require further investigation, the timing of which will be subject to operational requirements.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, is in Rabaul for commemoration activities marking Australia's involvement in the region in the First World War and said that these types of contacts were frequent in the region due to large rocky outcrops or ridging along the sea bed, as well as battle debris from the war.

Chief of Navy, flanked by local school choirs, addresses the dawn service at Rabaul Cenotaph

Chief of Navy, flanked by local school choirs, addresses the dawn service at Rabaul Cenotaph.


"The sea bed in the search area is a very steep volcanic shelf with numerous large rocks. The water deepens quickly as it extends from the coast," he said.
 
The Royal Australian Navy is working closely with the Government of Papua New Guinea, traditional communities and other government departments to investigate contacts as they are reported.
 
HMAS Yarra's crew will participate in the commemorative activities ashore in Rabaul, including a service on 14 September marking 100 years since the loss of AE1.

RAN Catafalque Guard Commander during the dawn service at Rabaul Cenotaph in PNG.

RAN Catafalque Guard Commander during the dawn service at Rabaul Cenotaph in PNG.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142704.