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2016 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

On July 15, 1942, America had been in World War II for less than a year, but the fight had already come to the nation's shores with U-boat attacks along the East Coast. On that particular day, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the German U-boat U-576 sank the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter SS Bluefields. But it came at a steep price - the merchant ship convoy and its U.S. military escorts fought back, sinking the U-boat within minutes as U.S. Navy air cover bombed the sub while the merchant ship Unicoi attacked it with its deck gun.

In 2014, NOAA located the remains of U-576 and SS Bluefields lying off Cape Hatteras just 240 yards apart and in about 700 feet of water. In August 2016, NOAA and partners used 2-person submersibles provided by Project Baseline to take the first look at these two vessels in over 74 years. Other partners, including NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, 2GRobotics, SRI International and University of North Carolina's Coastal Studies Institute, aided in the collection of data that will be used to visualize and virtually recreate an underwater battlefield!

For more information and to read the expedition blogs or view the images, video and laser scans, visit OER's website. For the full press release, click here.

Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend - March 4-5

Join Monitor National Marine Sanctuary as we celebrate the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads March 4-5 at The Mariners' Museum. The event will include reenactors, living history encampments, cannon firing, blacksmith demonstrations and more. For more information about MNMS's participation, contact Shannon Ricles. To learn more about the event, visit The Mariners' Museum

Battle of Hampton Roads
Reenactors participating in the Battle of Hampton Road at The Mariners' Museum. Photo: Courtesy of The Mariner's Museum

New Sanctuary Advisory Council Members

NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary announced eight new primary members to serve on its advisory council. The new appointees bring a valuable range of experience to the council, a community-based body that provides sanctuary staff with input and recommendations on sanctuary programs and management. Click here to learn more about the Sanctuary Advisory Council, and click here for the full press release.

North Carolina - Where the War Came Home

Dixie Arrow
Dixie Arrow burning after being torpedoed by U-71. Photo: National Archives

Just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, German submarines began patrolling U.S. waters off the East Coast, thus bringing the Battle of the Atlantic home to our shores. On January 18, 1942, a steam tanker, Allan Jackson, was torpedoed by a German U-boat, U-66, and sank 60 miles east-northeast of Diamond Shoals, North Carolina. It was the first ship sunk by a German U-boat off North Carolina's coast, but it would not be the last. Over the next six months, dozens of Allied and merchant vessels, along with four U-boats, sank off coastal North Carolina, making the area truly where the war came home to the United States.

More than any other place in the United States, coastal North Carolina serves as a uniquely accessible underwater museum and memorial to our nation's rich maritime history. Since 2008, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and partners have documented and surveyed this unique collection of World War II Allied and Axis vessels. Over the next six months, we will highlight these shipwrecks on the 75th anniversary of their sinking. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and/or visit our shipwreck webpages to learn more about this magnificent collection of shipwrecks.

Monitor E-Notes Now Available


The spring edition of Monitor E-Notes is now ready for your reading enjoyment. Learn about the upcoming Get Into Your Sanctuary days at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Harborfest, Pridefest, and all our other outreach events. In this edition, meet Tane Caserley, our Research Coordinator. And although the Monitor is 16 miles offshore, discover ten ways to get into your sanctuary. Click here to read all about it.

To make sure you don't miss an issue, join our mailing list by sending an email to Monitor Mailing List.

ANCHOR Program

ANCHOR poster

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary's ANCHOR (Appreciating the Nation's Cultural Heritage and Ocean Resources) program is a voluntary program developed to create an active partnership with commercial dive operators to educate their customers about NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries, our nation's fragile maritime heritage resources, and diving and snorkeling etiquette that individuals can use to make a difference. The ANCHOR program's goals are for divers to enjoy our maritime heritage resources in a manner that has the least impact by promoting responsible diving etiquette. Click here to learn more about ANCHOR and to see a list of ANCHOR operators.

Graveyard of the Atlantic Report Published

cover of the reportNorth Carolina's shoreline from Currituck Sound to Cape Fear is a dramatic marine setting influenced by dynamic environmental change. With barrier islands that stretch along hundreds of miles of coastline, from 20 to 40 miles offshore, these islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. This report is an initial review of the complex, dynamic and fascinating maritime cultural landscape of the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." To download a copy of the report click here.


Underwater Cultural Heritage Law Study

The protection and management of Underwater Cultural Heritage is a challenging topic, as it involves the interplay of U.S. statutes, maritime law, international law, and often complex issues regarding what law applies when and against whom it may be enforced. The Underwater Cultural Heritage Law Study is generated by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and NOAA to provide an analysis of existing laws protecting Underwater Cultural Heritage on the U.S. outer continental shelf, identify gaps and recommend legislative changes to address any gaps. To download a copy of the report click here.

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