Undersea Research Lab
Report on Condition of 3 Piece Japanese Midget Submarine
Terry Kerby, Ops Director HURL
On March 22 and 23, 2009, the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab conducted dives to the 3 piece Japanese Midget Submarine as part of a NOVA and NHK film documentary. This project enabled HURL to conduct a detailed survey of all three sections of the submarine.
The historical significance of these submarine sections is that this is most likely the 5th and final Japanese Midget Submarine from the Dec 7th attack.
HURL discovered the stern section in 1992, the mid section in 2000, and the bow section in 2001.
The last survey of all 3 pieces of the submarine sections was in 2001. The condition of the submarine has degraded significantly since then. Most notable was the condition of the mid section. The mid section is laying on the bottom with a 45° list to port.
The first thing I noticed on our return survey was that most of the periscope has broken off and is laying on the bottom and that the aft part of the conning tower has broken away.
The jagged edges of the after section aft of the conning tower that appeared to have been caused by an external explosion have broken away at the frames. This gives the appearance of a cleaner break now.
There is a hole in the forward starboard side of the hull about 1ft long and 9" wide that was not an open hole when the sub was surveyed in 2001. The hole now affords a clean view into upper area of the forward end of the mid section.