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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.

Sanctuary Advisory Council Meeting Scheduled April 6th

The Sanctuary Advisory Council will hold a meeting on April 6, 2017, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm at the sanctuary's office in Newport News, Va. A public commenting period will be held from 3:00 pm to 3:15 pm. If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to attend and/or make a comment, call 866-873-2206 and enter 4282677# when prompted.

For more information, contact William Sassorossi. For more information about the Advisory Council or the meeting click here.

Sanctuary Advisory Council Meeting
Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting in Newport News, Virginia. Photo: Ricles, NOAA

New Monitor Trail Signs In Newport News, Virginia

On March 8th, three new Monitor Trail signs were dedicated in commemoration of the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads. The new signs are located at the Monitor - Merrimac Overlook Park in Newport News, Virginia. For more information, contact Tane Casserley.

Battle of Hampton Roads wayside signs
Three new wayside signs will be dedicated commemorating the Battle of Hampton Roads. Photo: NOAA

Monitor E-Notes Now Available


The winter issue of Monitor E-Notes is now ready for your reading enjoyment. In this edition, we commemorate the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads that occurred on March 9, 1862, between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. Have you ever wondered what a sanctuary advisory council is and what they do? Check out this issue to learn more and to meet the members of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary's Advisory Council. You will also find information on NOAA's new nomination process and learn how to comment (by March 31, 2017) on the two new proposed sanctuaries: Mallows Bay and Wisconsin. In addition, we want to make sure you mark your calendars and join us for upcoming outreach events, so check out the list. Finally, in this edition, meet Dave Alberg, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent. Click here to read the newsletter.

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

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.

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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