NOAA announces that a team of researchers led by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the tanker Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII. Full press release. To learn more about the battle of the KS-520 and the discovery of the shipwrecks click here.
Monitor NMS Celebrates 40th Anniversary
On January 30, 1975, exactly 113 years since the launch of the USS Monitor, the historic shipwreck was designated as our nation's first national marine sanctuary. It all began in 1973, when a team of scientists from Duke University Marine Lab used sonar imaging to discover the long-lost resting place of the famous ironclad. Many wanted to safeguard the shipwreck, including North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones, Sr., who requested that the shipwreck be protected through a law that he had been instrumental in enacting: The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. Then on September 26, 1974, the North Carolina Department of Archives and History formally nominated the USS Monitor to be designated as a sanctuary. And on January 30, 1975, the Monitor became officially our nation's first national marine sanctuary.
Although many thought of the 1972 sanctuary act as a means to protect our biological resources, it is fitting that the USS Monitor, who had been first in so many things, was our nation's first sanctuary. The ship is one of our country's most treasured maritime historical resources. And through this great ship, not only are stories of our maritime past revealed, but it also continues to connect us to our ocean and future. We hope that you will celebrate the 40th anniversary with us as we honor the USS Monitor, the sanctuaries program, and all who made it possible.
Click here for more information on the USS Monitor's history, discovery, and designation. Also, visit the Monitor's legacy site.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Report Published
North 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.
Lightship Diamond Shoals(LV 71)
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office have signed a formal agreement to jointly manage the historic wreck of Diamond Shoals Lightship No. 71, the first American lightship to be sunk by enemy action during World War I.
Built in Bath, Maine, in 1897, the LV 71 served as a floating lighthouse, sound signal station and navigational beacon marking the treacherous waters of Diamond Shoals off the North Carolina coast. On August 6, 1918, German submarine, U-140, attacked the vessel while it was anchored off Cape Hatteras.
As a government vessel, the LV 71 is still owned by the United States and is managed by the Coast Guard. Under the agreement, NOAA, through nearby Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, will conduct work required under the National Historic Preservation Act to document the wreck's physical remains, nominate the site to the National Register of Historic Places, and partner with the local community and Coast Guard to share Diamond's story for the 100th anniversary of its sinking and beyond. Press release.
The Earth is Blue
This new video captures how NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is working with communities around the country to make a difference for ourselves, future generations and that bright blue planet we all home. Watch in HD.
Outer Banks Maritime Heritage Trail
Coastal North Carolina is an extraordinary place. Surrounded by water, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a chain of narrow barrier islands separating the Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sounds from the Atlantic Ocean. This dynamic environment has shaped the islands and its people for centuries.
We invite you to visit the Outer Banks through a series of ten videos and seven oral histories that take you along Highway 12 to a series of iconic places that make the Outer Banks unique. From the lighthouses to the wildlife, to the shipwrecks offshore, the Outer Banks' rich maritime heritage, culture and surrounding marine environment are reflected.
Click here for the Outer Banks Trail website. And teachers, check out the accompanying activity guide for students in our teacher section.
The latest addition to the Monitor Trail was recently installed along the Noland Trail at The Mariners' Museum Park in Newport News, Va. The sign is the third to be installed as part of NOAA's Monitor Trail, which will eventually run from Beaufort, N.C. to New York, N.Y. The Monitor Trail identifies key locations and communities that are associated with the design, construction and history of the USS Monitor. This newest sign describes the vital role that The Mariners' Museum plays in the conservation, preservation and display of Monitor artifacts. Two other Monitor Trail signs are located at the Richmond National Battlefield at Drewry's Bluff and at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, N.C.
New Video: The USS Monitor and NOAA: A Look through Time
Travel back to 1862 in this educational video to learn how the USS Monitor turned the tide of the Civil War. Learn about the discovery of the shipwreck in 1973, the site's designation as the first national marine sanctuary, and the recovery of major iconic artifacts and how they are being conserved today. Included are the recent events to identify two Monitor sailors' remains and their burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Funding for this video was provided in part by NOAA & The Preserve America Initiative.
To view the video on YouTube click here.
Experience the Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum through the LIVE Web Cam.