Monitor Recovery Project to Begin This Month

Friday, June 14, 2002
Navy divers are enroute to Cape Hatteras, N.C. to continue salvage operations to recover the gun turret from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. One hundred twenty divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two in Little Creek, Va., and other Navy diving commands, including the Naval Sea Systems Command's Supervisor of Diving and Salvage, will participate in this year's Monitor Expedition. For the fifth consecutive year, the Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Va. are working together at the dive site to recover Monitor artifacts. The mission will begin later this month and run until early August. This year, the expedition's goal is to recover the 120-ton gun turret, that detached from the vessel when it sank to the bottom of the ocean in 1862 and came to rest under the ship's stern. The salvage effort will involve clearing 100 tons of the ship's armor belt and stern section to expose the turret, and then removing approximately 100 tons of silt from the turret before lifting it to the surface. In addition, divers will search the turret area for additional artifacts. A small pierside ceremony at Newport News is being considered when the turret is brought in. The turret and any other artifacts will go to the Mariner's Museum for display. To date, dive teams have recovered the ship's cast-iron propeller shaft and engine.

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