Pathfinder Identifies Sunken Vessels During At-Sea Demonstration

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Merchant Marine Seaman Derrick Moore and Kyle Gibson prepare to launch a side-scan sonar during the joint-at-sea capabilities demonstration aboard the Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS 60). During the demonstration, Pathfinder will be searching for the Soviet-flagged hospital ship SS Armenia, which sank during WWII. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jenniffer Rivera

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jenniffer Rivera, Detachment

Military Sealift Command (MSC) oceanographic survey ship USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS 60) identified two sunken vessels during a joint, at-sea capabilities demonstration in Ukrainian territorial waters.
German coastal submarine U-18 was the first target the oceanographers identified using underwater video capabilities with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
The second ship is believed to be RUS Prut, a Russian minelayer that sank during World War I in 1914.
"The sea floor is a resting place for brave sailors, regardless of the country they come from," said Dr. Serge A. Gulyar, head of the Underwater Physiology Department at the National Academy of Sciences of , who participated in the search.
The ship's civilian oceanographers used equipment such as a side-scan sonar, multi-beam sonar and ROVs to locate the vessels. The sonars use sound pulses on the ocean's floor to locate possible shipwrecks. The ROV is deployed underwater to verify the sonars' findings.
"It was interesting using all of the state-of-the-art equipment," said Gulyar. "As a physiologist, it was nice learning about all the technical parts of the underwater exploration."
Civilian surveyors from the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), a team of civilian oceanographers from the U.S.-base Institute of Exploration (IFE) and Ukrainian sailors, historians and surveyors headed the joint, at-sea demonstration.
"I am happy with the amount of work that we were able to accomplish during this survey," said IFE Chief Scientist Katy Croff. "During this exploration we discovered many sonar targets that we hope to investigate and identify during future projects."

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