back to article RADIOACTIVE WWII aircraft carrier FOUND OFF CALIFORNIA

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says it has found the final resting place of the USS Independence, a World War Two aircraft carrier. The Independence (CVL-22) was commissioned as cruiser, but adapted to become a light carrier as the demands of the Pacific war made mobile air power …

  1. Steve Todd
    Stop

    In California?

    In deep water off the coast does not equate to "In Califonia"

    1. John 98

      Re: In California? Maybe

      I think you need to demonstrate that the wreck is far enough from the islands to be outside US territory to get the pedant's prize. And, maybe the Navy wanted it in territorial waters where they could easily deny access should the need arise.

      1. Ragarath Silver badge

        Re: In California? Maybe

        The exclusive economic zone is 200mi so 80km is well within that for California let alone the islands.

        According to the wiki that rules them all this zone is mistaken as or at least used to be known as the territorial waters. In any case it still gives the "owner" certain rights, economic ones as you might expect which IMO would include things such as a wreck.

        Read the wiki, it's quite informative http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_waters

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: In California? Maybe

          Resting on a different continental plate so not California.

          I have spoken.

          Next up: World Peace, followed by How To Play The Flute.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Stevie (was: Re: In California? Maybe)

            So Santa Barbera, Los Angeles & San Diego aren't in California? I can live with that.

            Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Halfmoon Bay? THAT I would take issue with ...

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "This aircraft carrier-

    may contain substances known to the state of California to cause cancer..."

    No need to worry about Fukashima juices drifting over then, really...

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Re: "This aircraft carrier-

      California's ex-governor was quoted as saying, "It'll be back..."

      1. tony2heads
        Mushroom

        Re: "This aircraft carrier-

        Anything that needs nuking TWICE is seriously badass

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: "This aircraft carrier-

          But did they nuke it from orbit?

        2. chriswakey

          Re: "This aircraft carrier-

          "Anything that needs nuking TWICE is seriously badass"

          So...Japan, then?

          (too soon?)

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: "This aircraft carrier-

            Ninjas are badass!

          2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

            Re: "This aircraft carrier-

            Nevada must be the most badass place on Earth.

          3. Dana W

            Re: "This aircraft carrier-

            Of course Japan is badass as well, it also had to be nuked twice to stop it!

          4. Captain DaFt

            Re: "This aircraft carrier-

            "Anything that needs nuking TWICE is seriously badass"

            "So...Japan, then?"

            Well, definitely this guy:

            http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/06/the-man-who-survived-two-nuclear-bomb-attacks/

            Nuked twice, and walked away both times, lived to be 93.

        3. Stevie Silver badge

          Anything that needs nuking TWICE is seriously badass

          Nuked twice and still floating. Took a licking and kept on ticking (when you pointed a Geiger Counter at it).

          Super-serious badass.

          1. DuhAh

            Re: Anything that needs nuking TWICE is seriously badass

            Would have made for a great John Cameron Sweyze Timex Comercial!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Anything that needs nuking TWICE is seriously badass

            This would have made for a great John Cameron Sweyze Timex Commercial! A Nuked Aircraft Carrier!

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Measurer

      That's it...

      This James Delgado's got a great job, consisting of:

      1. A Government department sinks something in the Pacific, without recording where they did it.

      2. A period of time later a different Government department declares that these vessels are historic.

      3. James Delgado and his chums get a nice big boat with lots of toys to play with for a period of time, in order to find these self declared 'historic' relics.

      What is the point?

      Am I being just a wee bit too cynical.....

      1. Just Enough

        Re: That's it...

        Well no-one said that it wasn't recorded where they sunk it. If you're going to sink a radio-active ship, you'd think that someone would have kept a note of roughly where they did it. Just for future reference.

        So to be clear here, they "found" this ship exactly where they left it. Nice bit of 3D sonar, but not exactly a stunning "find".

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: That's it...(4 Just Enough)

          So to be clear here, they "found" this ship exactly where they left it. Nice bit of 3D sonar, but not exactly a stunning "find".

          Spoken like a man who's never tried to find a wreck from an old pre-GPS chart position.

          Also, wrecks don't sink vertically. They tend to travel around a bit before touching down if there's room.

          I fear modern technology is blinding you to the achievement.

        2. x 7

          Re: That's it...

          lots of ships were sunk after WWII, many of them with far more dangerous cargoes than this. Some with thousands of tonnes of bombs / shells. Some laden with poison gas. For most of them the exact location is unknown.

          The problem is once you're out of sight of land, navigation - and location - is very much an art, not a science. No satnavs. No Decca / Loran. No navigational aids whatsoever, just time, distance, compass and dead reckoning. Thats fine when you're on the open sea, trying to avoid running into something: you just err on the side of caution. But trying to know exactly where you are to the nearest half mile, or mile, or five miles........thats hard. And going back later to find it again? Even harder.

          Theres the added complication in that where possible these "death" ships were sunk in the nearest available deep, but as someone said earlier, ships don't simply go straight down. They drift.......after all they drift on the surface with the current and wind, why shouldn't they drift as they sink? The final resting place could be miles from the point of sinking

          1. Adrian Tawse

            Re: That's it...

            A very good point. There is one cargo ship sunk during WWII in the wash. This was (is) fully laden with explosives, shell, bombs etc. with sufficient explosive power to rate as a medium sized nuke. Immediately after the war is was deemed too dangerous to attempt a recovery, so, in the best Whitehall tradition, it was ignored. Every year it becomes even more dangerous and the consequences of it going off ever more serious.

            1. JimC

              Re: There is one cargo ship sunk during WWII in the wash

              I think you're probably talking about the Richard Montgomery. And she's in the Thames Estuary off Sheerness. A much more worrying location than the Wash. http://metro.co.uk/2016/01/03/new-sonar-image-shows-wwii-shipwreck-that-could-level-a-kent-town-at-any-minute-5598428/

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: That's it...

        This James Delgado's got a great job, consisting of:

        1. A Government department sinks something in the Pacific, without recording where they did it.

        2. A period of time later a different Government department declares that these vessels are historic.

        3. James Delgado and his chums get a nice big boat with lots of toys to play with for a period of time, in order to find these self declared 'historic' relics.

        What is the point?

        Am I being just a wee bit too cynical.....

        Well, apart from the messing about in boats thing, and the order of the step in which the government declares something valuable, this is pretty much a definition of how archeology works in general.

        You could ask the time-wasters who dug up the 9th century cathedral in Coventry recently what the point is. I mean, they already had two that weren't in deep holes. One is a bit smashed up but the other is in good repair.

        1. Colin Bain

          Re: That's it...

          There is some debate about which of the current Coventry Cathedrals is a bit bashed up and which is in good repair. Having seen the "new" one from the sixties, it does have bits coming off it, while the very much older one looks to be in much better shape, although it does lack a roof and bit of a wall, but the tower is still there and can be climbed safely on the inside for a small fee. And its not radioactive.

    2. Bloakey1

      "So what is the next step? Where does the investigation go from here?"

      The British Navy are thinking of re-floating it as a replacement vessel for their carrier fleet. This is an interim measure until the Queen Elizabeth class carriers are brought in after a whip round in the pub is organised to complete the financial package for funding of said vessels.

      A spokesman for the Navy Tarquin Merryweather has stated that "Britannia waives the rules and is it my turn in the barrel tonight?".

      1. briesmith

        Not All Plain Sailing

        Reinstatement to the fleet is, however, expected to be delayed while the showers are replaced with baths and the CocaCola machines removed.

        The good news is that the remaining aircraft are in excellent condition and, in tests, out performed the F35s ordered for the Navy's other "new" carrier. It's also become apparent that the planes can be restored to full fighting capability before the projected "first fly" date of the F35s.

      2. Ian Emery Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        You beat me to it.

      3. Roger Mew

        Wot carrier

        Lookit the RAF and RN have not enough planes together to muster a carrier. As an ex UK soldier, the BF have been reduced to little more than that of a decent regiment. In the event of something serious there would not be enough personnel, nor equipment to act. Even the Brits have given up on the stupid idea of increasing the TA. The Govt took the piss out of the staff by refusing to accept that the guys were in the employ of the UK so refused to add the pension times, and how about the unemployment, they refused to give ss stamps to some as they were "out of the country". Note this applies to some TA staff, not reggies.

        Frankly the UK needs to assess if they are actually a world power any-more.

        We really need to put a static nuclear bomb on the Falklands, have a nuclear power station there and keep it as a training area.

        1. x 7

          Re: Wot carrier

          The Falklands would be the ideal place to build a couple of Iraqi-style superguns. Perfect location and range to cover the Argie ports and airfields. And the Parliament buildings.........You could run them up the east side of the mountains, facing west or northwest

          We've got the technology, it was British companies who built most of it, so lets use it!

        2. Adrian Tawse

          Re: Wot carrier

          I hate to be less than totally patriotic but I must agree about our defense forces, especially these new carriers. Sorry, but they are a sick joke. In order to have at least one available at all times you need three. One in long refit, one in short refit and one available. The argument for having only two was that we could "share" with the french. Leaving aside the fact that the current plan is to mothball Prince of Wales (not personally you understand), we have a carrier that, thanks to the fact that we have sold off our Harrier fleet, can only be equipped with F35s. These are the most expensive aircraft of all time with the type B (the stovol type) being the most expensive variant and the least capable. So the chances of us being able to afford the full complement of 8 squadrons for each carrier is a laughable. Current plan is to have only one. We will not be able the "share" with the french, they cannot either launch nor recover the F35 type B. They cannot launch because no French carrier has a ski ramp and they cannot recover a fully armed F35 because it cannot land vertically, a fully armed F35 is too heavy. The only way a fully armed F35B can land is by doing a sort of belly flop. To do this the pilot has to have the nose so high he cannot see the deck at all, he has no reference point, all he can see is the big blue sky. To overcome this the carrier has to be equipped with video cameras feeding an image up to the pilot, something no French carrier has. Why have we landed ourselves in this mess, ask BAE Systems and the MOD.

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      "Where does the investigation go from here?"

      Underwater?

  4. fnj

    Incorrect

    Wrong. It wasn't "commissioned as a cruiser". It wasn't even launched as a cruiser. The closest you're going to get is that it was designed and construction begun as a cruiser but converted during construction, and at launching was already a carrier.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Incorrect

      Her keel was laid as a cruiser, but was converted and finished as a light carrier.

  5. wolfetone Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Radioactive?

    I bet you this was the real ship they used for the Philadelphia Experiment.

    1. The last doughnut
      Thumb Up

      Re: Radioactive?

      I often perform the Philadelphia experiment in my kitchen. Favourite is between two digestives.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Radioactive?

        "I often perform the Philadelphia experiment in my kitchen. Favourite is between two digestives."

        Have you come across the cheesecake variant? Many a mind will be blown with that experiment.

  6. FartingHippo
    Mushroom

    Easy find

    Why was tracking down the wreck a big deal? Just follow the trail of giant, glowing, 13-tentacled octopuses.

    That's what radiation does, at least according to my local Green Party representative.

    1. Geoff May
      Joke

      13-tentacled octopuses

      Wouldn't that be a tredecipus then?

      1. magickmark
        Coat

        Re: 13-tentacled octopuses

        Wouldn't it be 13-tentacled Octopi ----- ummmm octopie -- or tredecipi -- ummm tredecipie

        (really need a 'Homer Drooling' Icon)

      2. Jimlad
        Headmaster

        Re: 13-tentacled octopuses

        Triskaidekapus

        1. EddieD

          Re: 13-tentacled octopuses

          Call it what you like, but pass the lemon slices and aioli - and maybe a nice bottle of something chilled...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy find

      I saw some of those octopodes once... after smoking something passed to me by a Greens voter.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Easy find

        Who votes vegetable??

        I think you mean someone who votes Green.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Easy find

          Looking at the current government, a lot of people have voted vegetable.

    3. ravenviz
      Devil

      Re: Easy find

      It is the (octo/tredeci)pus, very good at camouflage they are!

  7. hfo1

    If they deliberately scuttled it they'd be pretty stupid to forget to take the planes off first.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      If they deliberately scuttled it they'd be pretty stupid to forget to take the planes off first.

      Not if they were glowing in the dark.

    2. Gray
      Trollface

      Cheaper to just leave 'em

      In military reasoning, it was cheaper to leave 'em right where they sat, rather than fly them to the desert boneyard. And then there's that pesky radioactive decontamination thing affecting the airplanes ...

      1. tapanit

        Re: Cheaper to just leave 'em

        They might have left some airplanes in there on purpose in order to see how the bomb affects them.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I imagine they left a few planes tied down on deck to see what effect the nuclear blast had on a carrier with planes on deck. So they weren't flyable after that. Would you want to test them? So it's possible they just left them there the whole time.

      1. Anna Logg

        Post WW2 the UK and USA, at least, had more obsolete nearly new propeller aircraft then they knew what to do with (many were just pushed over the side of carriers), so nuking a few was hardly a great loss.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          But the UK re-used the aluminium in pre-fab housing. OK, so the US didn't have a desperate housing shortage, but just dumping them seems like a criminal waste.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the image at the top of this story"

    There aren't any images on the mobile site :(

    1. Boothy

      Re: "the image at the top of this story"

      Indeed, I can understand them cuttings sizes down for the mobile site (although even that isn't really required these days). But please don't remove them completely.

  9. jake Silver badge

    No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

    The Farallons (and the canyon leading out of San Francisco Bay) have been a toxic-waste dump since the late 1940s (earlier?) ... Funny thing is that the so-called "greens" refuse to understand the reality of this obvious fact. A "nature reserve" in a nuclear disposal site. Lovely.

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2447064

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

      Chernobyl was perhaps the worst nuclear accident in the world with chronic levels of radioactive material. The wildlife is still thriving there. Probably because exposure to humans was more fatal to an animal's wellbeing than the background radiation levels.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

        Total guess here. Would that be because animals generally have shorter life spans so therefore do not have time to accumulate nasty mutations?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

          Shorter life spans would result in less overall exposure, but shorter life spans would also mean more generations and more genetic mutations being passed on.

          Of course being animals with poor PR management those mutations that result in horribly deformed offspring unable to live more than a few days will go unnoticed so may appear to be adapting better than they really are.

          1. phil dude
            Mushroom

            Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

            "Shorter life spans would result in less overall exposure, but shorter life spans would also mean more generations and more genetic mutations being passed on."

            I'm not so sure about that....having a shorter life suggest you have a broken genome and therefore have NO offspring!!!

            In addition, radiation doesn't care where it goes, and will mutate gestating organisms too.

            An example of a microbe that has done well out of radiation dumps is Deinococcus Radiodurans ....now there is an example of a well 'ard bug!!

            P.

            1. Nigel The Pigeon
              Alien

              Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

              @phile dude

              In that article it mentions -

              "....Last month, Cox and Jong-Il Kim, also of Wisconsin, compared the functions of the RecA protein...."

              Clearly there is more going on here, when the former North Korean head of state has been resurrected to research the minutiae of radiation-resistant micro biology.

              Tinfoil hats on stand by.

          2. Captain DaFt

            Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

            "mutations that result in horribly deformed offspring unable to live more than a few days will go unnoticed "

            Oh, it was noticed, but it was also noticed that surviving generations are healthy and thriving, despite being radioactive:

            "Some animals in the worst-hit areas also died or stopped reproducing. Mice embryos simply dissolved, while horses left on an island 6km from the power plant died when their thyroid glands disintegrated.

            Cattle on the same island were stunted due to thyroid damage, but the next generation were found to be surprisingly normal.

            Now it's typical for animals to be radioactive - too radioactive for humans to eat safely - but otherwise healthy."

            From: http://pripyat.com/en/articles/wildlife-defies-chernobyl-radiation.html

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: No shit. We've known this for over half a century.

      > Funny thing is that the so-called "greens" refuse to understand the reality of this obvious fact. A "nature reserve" in a nuclear disposal site. Lovely.

      What *better* place to send the tree-huggers....

  10. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Coat

    As Lady Bracknell never quite said...

    To be nuked once, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune.

    To be nuked again looks like carelessness.

    1. .stu

      Re: As Lady Bracknell never quite said...

      Or as George Dubya might say...

      "Nuke me once, shame on you. Nuke me - you can't get nuked again".

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Mushroom

      Re: As Lady Bracknell never quite said...

      I remember reading about a Japanese railway engineer. He was working at Hiroshima when it got nuked. As he wasn't feeling too well (for some reason), and as he was already at the railway, he was evacuated to hospital, to be treated for his burns. Unfortunately he was evacuated to a nice safe hospital in Nagasaki, where a few days later...

      Turns out there were a handful of people who ended up in the same situation for various reasons, and managed to be unlucky enough to get nuked twice and survive both.

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: As Lady Bracknell never quite said...

      Tell that to Tsutomu Yamaguchi...

      Aha- as !Spartacus has noted above.

  11. kmac499

    Interesting design layout.

    Pilots checklist

    Engine on

    Fuels on

    Bombs on

    Can someone make sure the elevator on the runaway is in the UP position please...

    Serious thought, maybe they could use the search kit to look fo MH370

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Interesting design layout.

      I hear that the Indian Ocean is as wide as it is deep... Ok its wider by several thousands of Miles 28.4 Million Miles to be exact. How big is a Boeing 777 again? about ~200 Feet (or 20 Meters). Needle meet Haystack...

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Interesting design layout.

        How wide? - that's a lot of sea! Are you sure those aren't square miles?

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Interesting design layout.

          Yes I meant Square Miles, but the general idea still holds... We only have a best guess where the Plane could have possibly gone down in. Even though its only a guess its not like anyone knows for sure. And in the span of things the Plane is quite twitchy in comparison.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    humans

    first they nuke it, they nuke it again, then they sink it, then can't find it, then they spend long time and much effort and resources to find it. With this pattern of behaviour they're likely to try to lift it and put it on top of Mt. Everest (second highest peak on the whole planet, may I remind you). Therefore, I submit an urgent motion to the honorable 4&^5443** to zap the race from space once and for all. Now, all those in favour, please raise your 5*%%£" to vote... Thank you!

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: humans

      HIGHEST, after declaring it shorter than they thought, they then measured the others and found THEY were all shorter as well; putting Everest back on top.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ Ian Emery (was: Re: humans)

        I think you'll find that Mauna Kea has nearly a mile on Everest ...

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: @ Ian Emery (was: humans)

          it really depends on whether you are counting height above sea level, which Everest wins, by being on the Tibetan plateau, or height from base to peak, which Mount McKinley wins, or if you count bits that are underwater, in which case Mauna Kea wins. Or if you count mountains not on Earth, in which case, you get Olympus Mons...

  13. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Someone set us up the bomb!

    All your boat are belong to us!

    1. Robert Baker
      Pint

      Re: Someone set us up the bomb!

      Er, it was "someone set up us the bomb".

      In AD 2015, AYB was continuing. :-) (Old memes never die, they just smell that way.)

  14. A. Coatsworth
    Headmaster

    Did the image released by NOAA really read "hanger" instead of "hangar"?

    Or the inner works of WWII carriers were different to what I have always imagined, and planes were actually hung (maybe upside down, as socks in a clothesline) below deck?

    *Consider any error included in this comment as karma biting me in the ass as payment for my pedantry

  15. x 7

    so just how hot would you expect it to be? All I got was an irradiation pulse and presumably a fair bit of fallout. If Hiroshima and Nagasaki are now safe to live in, whats the betting this ship is now safe, with the fallout washed away

  16. Your alien overlord - fear me

    dumping 100's of tons of radioactive waste in the sea - even Mr Burns would glow with envy

  17. Rick Brasche

    now for the nucleophobic hype

    nevermind it's been down there for decades. suddenly hundreds of people will start experiencing "symptoms" that only manifested AFTER they heard about this recent discovery.

    Me, I'm upset that no superpowers nor interesting mutations have manifested.

  18. DuhAh

    Bad Ass is Twice nuked still survived

    This would make for a great John Cameron Sweyze Timex Commercial!

    Takes a nuking and keeps on ticking!

  19. Robert Baker
    Mushroom

    Bad use of SI units, again

    "...a distance of about 80kms from San Francisco"

    80 kilometre-seconds? WTF is a kilometre-second when it's at home?

    Presumably El Reg meant "80km", just as batteries are commonly (mis-)rated as "2000mAh" instead of 2Ah.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There goes the neighborhood...

    Not only did they dump the ship in the local toxic waste site off the Farallon Islands, (a National Wildlife Refuge) but they managed to sink it 80km west of the Potentially VERY ACTIVE SAN ANDREAS EARTHQUAKE FAULT you know, the one that has been known to shake, rattle and burn San Francisco from time to time! All this along the path of the shipping lanes heading under the Golden Gate.

    Good stable storage for nuclear waste... out of sight, out of mind.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: There goes the neighborhood...

      And where would any of this radiation go in case of an earthquake? The steel of the hull itself is mildly irradiated from the neutron blast of the bomb, most other radionucleides will have washed away by now. The ship itself in unlikely to be filled with large amounts of explosives (and even then it's under several hundred feet of ocean to contain any particulate). So even IF there was an earthquake, the worst that can happen is that it shifts a bit, some radioactive particulate is stirred up and quickly diluted by seawater and maybe some fish ingest just a bit more radioactive dust than usual. most of that will pass straight through them. It'll be just fine. This ship is not something to worry about.

  21. Colin Bain
    Boffin

    Not so obvious..perhaps

    If this is a nature reserve, it surely attracts all kinds of researchers. Wonder if they have come up with anything?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Not so obvious..perhaps

      The researchers are almost all young, idealistic, and lubbers. So what they usually come up with is breakfast (or lunch, if the morning tide isn't cooperative). The water in the area is notoriously bumpy, even in good weather. Has to do with the exceptionally long fetch of the Pacific.

      Hint to lubbers: If you must eat before going out on the ocean for the first time, have a banana or two and water, nothing else. Bananas are the only food that tastes the same coming up as it did going down. (Strangely, I heard the same thing from a former Blue Angles pilot about twenty years after my Uncle gave me the advice).

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