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Analysts Send off Third Quest for the WWII Wreck SS Norlindo
By Seaandcoast | 20/04/2023
A group of researchers in the United States is conducting a third search for the wreck of a World War II freighter. The ship is carrying a lot of heavy fuel oil, which could damage the environment if it leaks.
The American steamship SS Norlindo, which was sunk by a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942, was not found in two previous searches. Despite the fact that previous expeditions had found several magnetic anomalies that could point to a shipwreck, both of them were postponed due to bad weather, leaving nearly half of the search area unexplored.
The American steam freighter SS Norlindo, weighing 2,686 tons and measuring 253 feet in length, was the first casualty of World War II combat in the Gulf of Mexico. On May 4, 1942, it was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sunk about 80 miles northwest of Dry Tortugas Island.
The freighter sank so quickly that the 21 crewmembers and seven officers aboard could not get out of the lifeboats. The ship carried five men with it, and the survivors were rescued two days later.
Munger T. Ball and Joseph M. Cudahay, two additional freighters, were sunk over the following two days by the German U-boat as it continued its hunt in the Gulf of Mexico. Recreational scuba divers have since discovered these shipwrecks in shallower waters off the Florida coast. Seventy-five years after the end of World War II, Norlindo has not been found.
According to the Office of Ocean Exploration at NOAA, the Norlindo is one of 87 shipwrecks in U.S. waters that, due to the fuel that was aboard at the time of the sinking, could cause pollution. With approximately 5,000 barrels of fuel aboard, the freighter is believed to have gone down.
A third search mission has been launched by scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi in the hopes of finding the wreck, determining its current condition, and assisting in the prevention of environmental damage. A deep-towed sidescan sonar will be used by the researchers to scan the bottom in the most promising areas using the university's research vessel, Point Sur. The team will return with an ROV and inspect for visual confirmation and evaluation if high-potential targets are found.
The disaster area is especially essential to find in view of its vicinity to earth delicate regions. Seabirds in the Dry Tortugas, which are home to species of birds that cannot be found anywhere else in the United States and provide nurse sharks with spawning and nursery habitat, could be affected by an oil leak.