NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch
Head, Dr. Robert Neyland, reports from USNS Henson
that the survey for Bonhomme Richard
is going smoothly. Dr. Neyland, along with partners from Ocean Technology Foundation
, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
, Naval Oceanographic Office, Office of Naval Research
, and U.S. Naval Academy
, is on schedule and has already completed about 45% of the survey using a towed side scan sonar and two Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). The Naval Surface Warfare Center
(NSWC) is utilizing an Office of Naval Research Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (ONR AUV) to help the researchers interpret likely shipwreck targets through the gathering of site specific remote sensing data through the combined collection of sonar, magnetic variations, and photography. The surveyors reported having found a number of shipwreck-like targets on the ocean floor that will have to undergo further future investigation. Bonhomme Richard
, after 230 years on the sea bottom, is expected to have the appearance on sonar of a debris field of ballast, cannon, and other objects. It may appear as a sediment-covered mound rather than an easily recognizable sailing ship. Hence many of the sites found will have to undergo further investigation by divers and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
. Weather permitting, the survey will be completed over the next few days.
Stay tuned for more updates from the field as the search for Bonhomme Richard continues!
The Bonhomme Richard strafing decks with HMS Serapis. Courtesy of The Serapis Project.