Semmes DD-189 - History

Semmes DD-189 - History


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Semmes DD-189

Semmes(DD-189: dp. 1,190, 1. 314'5", b. 31'8", dr. 13'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 120, a. 5 4", 1 3", 12 21'' tt.; cl. Clemson)The first Semmes (DD-189) was laid down on 10 June 1918 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co. Newport News, Va., launched on 21 December 1918, sponsored by Mrs. John H. Watkins, granddaughter of Raphael Semmes; and commissioned on 21 February 1920, Comdr. H.H. Norton in command.Following shakedown, Semmes participated in exercises along the northeast coast until January 1921 when she sailed south for winter fleet maneuvers in the Caribbean. From there, she transited the Panama Canal to cruise off the west coast of South America and returned to the Caribbean in late February to conduct further exercises out of Guantanamo Bay. In late April, she resumed operations out of Norfolk.The destroyer was ordered inactivated in 1922, and on 12 April, entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 17 July. Activated ten years later, she was transferred to the Coast Guard and commissioned in that service on 25 April 1932. As a Coast Guard destroyer, she was reconditioned at Boston and based at New London, whence she operated from 26 September until detached for two months duty with the Navy on 7 September 1933. On 10 November, she returned to New London and resumed operations for the Treasury Department. On 20 April 1934, the destroyer was returned to the Navy and was recommissioned as an experimental ship in accordance with the London Treaty limiting naval armament.Although not officially redesignated as an auxiliary ship, AG-24, until 1 July 1935, Semmes was assigned to Experimental Division 1: and, with assigned submarines, tested and evaluated underwater sound equipment into the 1940's. After the entry of the United States into World War II, Semmes added escort misigns, training services for the Key West Sound School and antisubmarine patrol work to her duties.At Key West from 16 March to 16 April 1942, she performed escort and patrol work off the mid-Atlantic seaboard into May; and, on the morning of the 6th while patrolling off Cape Lookout, collided with a British ship, Senateur Duhamel. The latter sank, and after assisting the survivors, Semmes put into Morehead City for temporary repairs.Permanent repairs were completed at Norfolk on 3 June and the former destroyer resumed her test and evaluation, patrol, and escort work which she continued through the end of the war in Europe. After the capitulation of Germany, Semmes resumed her primary mission of testing experimental equipment and for the remainder of her career, conducted tests for the Underwater Sound Laboratory, New London, as a unit of the antisubmarine surface group of the Operational Development Force. Other duties during that period included the provision of training services to the Submarine School and to the Fleet Sonar School.On 21 May 1946, Semmes again entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for inactivation. Decommissioned on 2 June 1946, her name was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946; and her hulk was sold for scrapping to the Northern Metals Corp., Philadelphia, on 25 November 1946. She was scrapped the following year.


Semmes DD-189 - History

(DD-189: dp. 1,190, 1. 314'5", b. 31'8", dr. 13'6" s. 35 k. cpl. 120, a. 5 4", 1 3", 12 21'' tt. cl. Clemson)

The first Semmes (DD-189) was laid down on 10 June 1918 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co. Newport News, Va., launched on 21 December 1918, sponsored by Mrs. John H. Watkins, granddaughter of Raphael Semmes and commissioned on 21 February 1920, Comdr. H.H. Norton in command.

Following shakedown, Semmes participated in exercises along the northeast coast until January 1921 when she sailed south for winter fleet maneuvers in the Caribbean. From there, she transited the Panama Canal to cruise off the west coast of South America and returned to the Caribbean in late February to conduct further exercises out of Guantanamo Bay. In late April, she resumed operations out of Norfolk.

The destroyer was ordered inactivated in 1922, and on 12 April, entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was decommissioned on 17 July. Activated ten years later, she was transferred to the Coast Guard and commissioned in that service on 25 April 1932. As a Coast Guard destroyer, she was reconditioned at Boston and based at New London, whence she operated from 26 September until detached for two months duty with the Navy on 7 September 1933. On 10 November, she returned to New London and resumed operations for the Treasury Department. On 20 April 1934, the destroyer was returned to the Navy and was recommissioned as an experimental ship in accordance with the London Treaty limiting naval armament.

Although not officially redesignated as an auxiliary ship, AG-24, until 1 July 1935, Semmes was assigned to Experimental Division 1: and, with assigned submarines, tested and evaluated underwater sound equipment into the 1940's. After the entry of the United States into World War II, Semmes added escort missions, training services for the Key West Sound School and antisubmarine patrol work to her duties.

At Key West from 16 March to 16 April 1942, she performed escort and patrol work off the mid-Atlantic seaboard into May and, on the morning of the 6th while patrolling off Cape Lookout, collided with a British ship, Senateur Duhamel. The latter sank, and after assisting the survivors, Semmes put into Morehead City for temporary repairs.

Permanent repairs were completed at Norfolk on 3 June and the former destroyer resumed her test and evaluation, patrol, and escort work which she continued through the end of the war in Europe. After the capitulation of Germany, Semmes resumed her primary mission of testing experimental equipment and for the remainder of her career, conducted tests for the Underwater Sound Laboratory, New London, as a unit of the antisubmarine surface group of the Operational Development Force. Other duties during that period included the provision of training services to the Submarine School and to the Fleet Sonar School.

On 21 May 1946, Semmes again entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for inactivation. Decommissioned on 2 June 1946, her name was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946 and her hulk was sold for scrapping to the Northern Metals Corp., Philadelphia, on 25 November 1946. She was scrapped the following year.


USS Semmes (AG 24)

Decommissioned on 17 July 1922
Loaned to the Coast Guard as CG-20 from 25 April 1932 till 20 April 1934
Recommissioned by the USN on 20 April 1934
Reclassified as Auxiliary AG-24 on 1 July 1935
Semmes became a test bed for sonar equipment and testing of anti submarine warfare tactics
Decommissioned on 2 June 1946
Stricken on 3 July 1946
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 25 November 1946

Commands listed for USS Semmes (AG 24)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1David Ryerson Hull, USN15 May 193913 Jan 1941 ( 1 )
2Lt.Cdr. William Lee Pryor, Jr., USN13 Jan 194111 Dec 1942 ( 1 )
3T/Cdr. William Izard Bull, USN11 Dec 1942Jan 1944
4T/Cdr. Ronald Lee Wilson, USNJan 19444 Aug 1944
5Frank Lewis Fullaway, USNR4 Aug 194423 Aug 1945 ( 1 )
6John Henry Geyer, USN23 Aug 19452 Jun 1946

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Notable events involving Semmes include:

6 May 1942
USS Semmes mistook the auxiliary anti-submarine trawler HMS Senateur Duhamel for a U-boat and rammed and sank it off Cape Lookout, North Carolina, in position 34°33'N, 75°36'W. No lives were lost on either side. ( 2 )

13 Aug 1943
USS Crevalle (Cdr. H.G. Munson, USN) conducted exercises in Long Island Sound together with USS Semmes (Lt.Cdr. W.I. Bull, USN).

14 Aug 1943
USS Capelin (Cdr. E.E. Marshall, USN) conducted exercises in Long Island Sound together with USS Semmes (Lt.Cdr. W.I. Bull, USN) and USS Mackerel.

13 Jun 1944
During 13 to 15 June 1944, USS Baya (Cdr. A.H. Holtz, USN), conducted exercises in Long Island Sound with USS Semmes (Cdr. R.L. Wilson, USN), USS SC-679 (Lt.(jg) D.A. Replogle, USNR) and USS Razorback (Cdr. R.S. Benson, USN).

22 Jan 1945
USS Dentuda (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) conducted exercises in Long Island Sound together with USS Semmes (Lt.Cdr. F.L. Fullaway, USNR).

24 Jan 1945
USS Dentuda (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) conducted exercises in Long Island Sound together with USS Semmes (Lt.Cdr. F.L. Fullaway, USNR).

Media links


NSDD-189, White House 1985 Directive on Fundamental Research Exemption

This directive establishes national policy for controlling the flow of science, technology and engineering information produced in federally funded fundamental research at colleges, universities, and laboratories. Fundamental research is defined as follows:

"'Fundamental research' means basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons."

The acquisition of advanced technology from the United States by the Eastern Bloc nations for the purpose of enhancing their military capabilities poses a significant threat to our national security. Intelligence studies indicate a small but significant target of the Eastern Bloc intelligence gathering effort is science and engineering research performed at universities and federal laboratories. At the same time, our leadership position in science and technology is an essential element in our economic and physical security. The strength of American science requires a research environment conducive to creativity, an environment in which the free exchange of ideas is a vital component.


SEMMES AG 24

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Clemson Class Destroyer
    Keel Laid July 10 1918 - Launched December 21 1918

Naval Covers

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Dive Sites

N orth Carolina diving is best known for its collection of shipwrecks. In addition, there are offshore ledges and shore diving locations that bear mentioning. Listed below are descriptions of the sites we frequent most often. (Above photos by Jim Lyle)

Wreck Chart - This is a chart of all of our Charter Destinations.

Shipwrecks & More

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Liberty Ship
Size: 441' x 57' x 37'
History: The actual name of The Liberty Ship is the Theodore Parker. The Theodore Parker was built in March of 1943 and made several crossings of the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. Her main cargo was food and material for the war effort. On November 16, 1944, the Theodore Parker left Hull, England bound for New York. As she was 75 miles from the mouth of the Humber River, she struck a mine. She returned to Hull and remained there for three months while repairs were carried out. On February 23, 1945, she left Hull and arrived in New York on March 9, 1945. After the war, she was placed in the Merchant Marine Reserve Fleet on the James River.

Sinking: In 1974, the Theodore Parker was bought by the state of North Carolina to be used in the artificial reef program. The superstructure was cut away so the second deck became her top deck. The Theodore Parker was sunk on June 4, 1974.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Beginner
Depth: 30 - 60 ft.
Visibility: Generally 15-20feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Theodore Parker is a 441 foot long liberty ship and is resting in 60 feet of water with the highest decks at 30 feet. It is about 4 miles southwest of Beaufort Inlet and a mile and a half off of the beach. Because of the close proximity to the beach, visibility is usually 15-20 feet.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Brazilian freighter
Size: 338' x 54 'x 10'
History: Constructed in Germany, the Suloide was originally named the Maceio and later renamed the Amassia. Only after she was sold to Lloyd Brasileiro, was she renamed the Suloide. In March of 1943, the Suloide was loaded with manganese ore in Trinidad and bound for New York before she sank 12 miles from Beaufort Inlet.

Sinking: The Suloide sank on 26 March 1943 after colliding with the hull of the sunken SS Papoose. Deemed a navigational hazard, she was wire dragged by the US Coast Guard in 1944.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-50 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Suloide is an inshore wreck and as such, is a common second dive or an alternative first dive when conditions prohibit traveling offshore. As a result of being wire-dragged, the wreck consists of a large debris field that makes navigation more challenging. Yet, although though the Suloide is not intact, there is a distinct outline of the wreck in which plates and beams are scattered around the bottom and prominent boilers. Schools of sheepshead and spade fish are common, as are flounder and seabass.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 412' x 52' x 25'
Sinking: About 11:30 p.m. on the evening of March 18th the lookout spotted a torpedo from the U-124 a split second before it struck the starboard bow of the ship. Eight minutes after the first strike, a second torpedo struck the heavily laden tanker amidships on the port side, catching her cargo of fuel on fire. Captain Flaathen was cut by flying glass and ordered the ship abandoned. The ship drifted for about 45 minutes before sinking beneath the waves. There were 23 survivors and 13 crewmen lost their lives. The surviving crewmen were picked up at daylight the following morning by the British ship Port Halifax.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 70 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-40 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The W.E. Hutton is 13.8 miles from the Beaufort Inlet. The wreck rests in 70 feet of water and there is not much relief on this wreck. This wreck is frequently visited by divers and is also visited by fishermen. There is an abundance of coral growth on the wreck and is home to many fish. This is a prime place to spear fishing for flounder and other game fish. Near the bow area are two large anchors to the north and the engine, rudder, and pair of boilers near the stern. Due to the lack of reference points, a wreck reel comes in handy for navigation. The Hutton is still an enjoyable dive fairly close to shore. It is a good wreck to dive on the way in from deeper ones or when the weather will not permit journey to wrecks farther out.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Trawler
Size: 165''
History: After the United States entered World War II, the British sent over the Senateur Duhamel to protect conveys from German U-Boats. On May 6, 1942, the Senateur Duhamel was headed toward the Beaufort Inlet in a light haze. She spotted another ship, the USS Semmes, about a mile away and flashed the message "What Ship?" The light temporarily blinded the crew of the USS Semmes. Before a reply could be sent, the bow of the USS Semmes rammed into the Senateur Duhamel amidships. The USS Semmes called over to see if the Senateur Duhamel wanted to send any one over before they backed away. The Senateur Duhamel didn't want to transfer anyone over and the USS Semmes backed away to a distance of a half of a mile. The USS Roper, a destroyer was called for assistance.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 10-15 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The wreck is mostly flat except for the boilers, which are the highest parts. Deck plates, conduits, pipes, and concrete slabs are scattered about the wreck.

Due to the closeness to the shoals, the visibility averages 10-15 feet. The bottom is silty and can be stirred up very easily by a diver's fins. The water temperature is usually in the upper 70's and low 80's during the summer. Sheephead, spadefish, sea bass, grouper, and flounder can be found on this wreck.

Additional Info
VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Freighter
Size: 298'
History: The Ea was originally named the Cambay. Originally built in England, the Ea was operated out of Spain.

Sinking: On March 15, 1902 as she was nearing Cape Lookout in a dense fog. The Ea was at the tip of the shoals when she ran aground. The sea was calm and flat as Captain W. V. Garry gave the order for full astern, but the Ea didn't budge. They tried again at high tide, but the results were the same.On March 17, 1902, the gale was still blowing and the seas were still pounding the Ea. The water tanks had ruptured during the night and now the crew was without any drinking water. Even though the seas were still breaking around the Ea, the Algonquin and the Alexander Jones were still trying to reach them. The men at the Life Saving Station had launched a boat and were standing by in the hopes that the breakers subside enough to allow them to get to the Ea. To help the men save their strength, the Alexander Jones towed the boat as close as possible to the Ea.

By that afternoon, the Ea had been broken completely apart and all but one of the lifeboats had been crushed by the pounding waves. The waves were washing across the decks and carrying away any item that wasn't secured. To get away from the waves, the crew was huddled on top of the bridge.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 30 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-30 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Ea is a 298 foot long freighter and is resting in 30 feet of water. It is about 18 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet. The bow is pointed up toward the surface and is about 20 feet from the surface. The engine is the only relief on the stern. The sand around the shoals has a tendency to shift with the currents causing the amount of the wreck exposed to change. At times, only the bow is visible, but sometimes the propeller shaft and some of the blades of the propeller can be visible.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Because it is close to the shoals, visibility averages 20 feet, but can get up to 40-50 feet. The ship rests on a nice sandy bottom. Sheephead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent his wreck. Moderate currents are common to this wreck.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Menhaden Fshing Trawler
Size: 125'
Sinking: On December 7, 1968, the Fenwick Isle foundered in a storm and sank on the southern tip of the shoals at Cape Lookout.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 15-20 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Fenwick Isle is in 65 feet of water about 15 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet and a mile southwest from the Knuckle Buoy. The Fenwick Isle is intact lying on her port side rising to 35 feet from the surface.

Because she is so close to the shoals, visibility is usually 15-20 feet. The water temperature is usually in the upper 70's to low 80's in the summer. Sheephead, spadefish, sea bass, grouper, and flounder can be seen on this wreck. There is an "S" welded to the smokestack that is surrounded by small pegs.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Cable repair ship
Size: 450' x 58' x 17'
History: Commissioned 18 June 1945, the Aeolus began as the attack cargo ship (AKA) Turandot. After spending the final months of WWII transporting troops and cargo throughout the Pacific theater, she was decommissioned on 17 April 1947. In 1954, Turandot was reoutfitted as a cable repair ship and recommissioned as the Aeolus (ARC-3). In her following 20 years of service, she operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific before being transferred to Miltary Sealift Command in October 1973 to be operated by a civilservice crew. She was renamed the USNS Aeolus until her final decommissioning in May 1985.

Sinking: The Aeolus was sunk in July 1988 as part of North Carolina's artificial reef program.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Aeolus is a popular second dive on a full-day charter. She is home to the full array of offshore marine life, including sand tiger sharks that can often be found inside the cable storage compartment. Take note, however, that the wreck is in 3 pieces making navigation potentially difficult, especially in lower visibility. The Aeolus does offer limited penetration.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Vessel Type: USCG Cutter
Size:
185' x 30'
History: Commissioned 12 June 1944, the Spar began as an anti-submarine vessel engaged in convoy duty off the coast of Brazil. After the war, the Spar conducted hydrographic operations throughout the Northwest Passage where she held the unique distinction of being the first US vessel to circumnavigate the North American continent. She spent the 1980s and 90s as a Class "C" Seagoing Bouy Tender before being decommissioned on 28 February 1997.

Sinking: The Spar was sunk in June 2004 as part of North Carolina's artificial reef program.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Depth: 70-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-80 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: With its swirling bait fish, resident school of spade fish, patrolling pelagics, and popularity with sand tiger sharks, the Spar has emerged as one of North Carolina's most popular dives. The wreck is also relatively shallow, fully intact, and penetrable, making it the ideal site for new, as well as experienced, wreck divers.

Photos courtesy of Ken Bondy and John Galbreath

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Type VIIC German U-boat
Size: 218' x 20' x 15'
History: Kapitänleutnant Helmut Rathke and the U-352 departed St. Nazaire, France on 7 April 1942 as part of Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat), Hitler's WWII assault on the US eastern seaboard. She arrived off the North Carolina coast in early May. Despite firing a total of 6 torpedoes, the U-352 failed to sink or disable any Allied vessels.

Sinking: On 9 May, the U-352 was spotted by USCG Icarus who fired 5 depth charges, severely damaging the vessel and forcing it to the surface. The Icarus continued to attack with its machine guns as the crew attempted to abandon ship. 17 crewmen were killed and the rest were taken to Charleston as prisoners of war. The U-352 sank with several crewmembers onboard.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The U-352 has long secured its position as the most popular dive in North Carolina. Despite her corroded outer hull, she remains almost completely intact and, as such, is an impressive sight even for the most experienced wreck diver. Schooling baitfish and amberjacks hover above the wreck, and the hull is home to smaller fish, sponges, and coral. Rays and turtles are commonly sighted. Penetration is strongly discouraged.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: German gunboat
Size: 254' x 32' x 14'
History: Originally the German vessel, SMS Geier, built in 1894, she was seized by the US military in Honolulu at the onset of WWI. Renamed the USS Schurz after Carl Schurz, a German refugee who fled Germany during the 1848 Revolution and who eventually became the US Secretary of the Interior, she served briefly in WWI as a submarine escort before she sank en route from New York to Key West.

Sinking: The USS Schurz sank on 21 June 1918 in a collision with the SS Florida. 214 survivors, 1 crewman killed.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 100-115 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: Located offshore, approximately 28 miles from Beaufort Inlet, the Schurz is a popular first dive site. As a WWI era gunboat, The wreck of the Schurz varies substantially from many of NC's other sites. The boilers remain intact, ammunition is strewn about, and a deck gun lies in the sand. Navigation on the Schurz can be difficult due to the astounding number of baitfish that often blanket the site. Sightings of large stingrays, cobia, turtles, and sand tiger sharks are very common.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 453' x 56' x 27'
History: Built in 1920 by Bethleham Shipbuilding Corporation, the Papoose (Hutton) was originally commissioned as the Portola Plumas. At the time of her sinking, Captain Carl Flaathen and the Papoose (W.E. Hutton) were traveling alone and unarmed from Smith's Bluff, TX to Marcus Hook, PA with 65,000 barrels of #2 heating oil. The wreck of the Hutton was initially thought to be that of the SS Papoose, it's identity confirmed so recently that the site is still officially referred to as the Papoose.

Sinking: The Papoose (Hutton) was torpedoed by by KL Mohr and the U-124 and sunk on 18 March 1942. 23 survivors were rescued by the Port Halifax and taken to Savannah, GA. 13 crewmembers were killed in the attack.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-120 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-80 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Papoose used to be the most popular site for sand tiger sharks, but has been recently usurped by the USCG Spar. A large wreck, partially intact, and upside down, the Hutton has several prominent structural features including a large anchor still attached to the bow and an impressive propellor. It's home to all the usual offshore suspects including turtles, jacks, stingrays, and sand tiger sharks.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 428' x 53' x 25'
History: The Naeco was built in 1918 by the Bethlahem Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington, Deleware. At the time of her sinking, the Naeco was owned by Charles Kurz & Company out of Philadelphia. A single screw reciprocating steam engine with a maximum speed of 10 knots, she was traveling alone and unarmed with from Houston to NJ with a cargo of fuel oil.

Sinking: The sinking of the Naeco on 23 March 1942, was one of NC's most catastrophic. A torpedo from the infamous U-124 ignited the fuel in the cargo holds setting fire to the vessel and killing 24 of 38 crewmembers.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 120-140 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The bow and stern of the Naeco lie a few miles from one another, indicative of the sheer destruction inflicted by the German submarine. The stern has more relief and is therefore visited more often. A vibrant reef, the Naeco is home to a wide variety of marine life. In addition to above-average visibility, this site is also known for its sharks, boasting not only sand tigers, but often black tips and sand bars. Unfortunately, the Naeco is a deeper dive which does substantially limit bottom time.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 401' x 54' x 24'
History: The Cassimir was built in 1920 at Hog Island Shipyard as part of a "rapid shipbuilding" program designed to meet WWI shipping needs, though she was not completed in time for use during the war. Instead, she was sold to the Curtis Bay Copper and Island Works and converted to a general cargo ship. On a foggy night, February 26, 1942, the Cassimir sailed full speed around Frying Pan Shoals, enroute from Santiago, Cuba, to Baltimore, Maryland with a cargo of molasses.

Sinking: The Cassimir sank following a collision with the SS Lara. 32 members of the crew abandoned the ship in lifeboats and were rescued by the Lara, then transported to Charleston. 5 crew members were killed.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 85-120 ft.
Visibility: Generally 70-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: Also known as the "WR-2 Wreck", the bow is pointing up toward the sky and the anchors are still in place. There is a small sandy area that separates the bow from the other sections of the wreck. There is a lot of structure remaining including I-beams, a flat deck that once contained the pilothouse, and other decks separated by cargo holds. The stern section is intact, pointing upward, and listing to port. Some of the hull plates are missing which allows the divers to look into the ship. Large schools of amberjack and spadefish swim around the wreck and coronet and other tropical fish are seen regularly.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Freighter
Size: 298'
History: The Portland was originally called the Jacox. In 1942, the Portland was operating along the Pacific coast. In January of 1943, she started operating in the Atlantic Ocean. Her first Atlantic trip was from Philadelphia to Havana.

Sinking: On February 11, 1943, she got caught in a storm and ran aground on the shoals of Cape Lookout. All of the crew abandoned ship before the seas battered and broke the ship.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 15-25 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Portland is a 289 foot long freighter and is resting in 55 feet of water. It is about 18 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet. It is also known as the "P Wreck". The stern is on its port side and is mostly intact. The propeller can usually be seen sticking up out of the sand. There is a compartment on the stern that still contains .50-caliber and some 2-inch rounds. There is a mast that is lying between the stern and the bow. The bow is pointed up toward the surface and is about 25 feet from the surface and still has 2 anchors still in place.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Because it is close to the shoals, visibility averages 20 feet, but can get up to 40-50 feet. The ship rests on a nice sandy bottom. Sheephead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent his wreck. Moderate currents are common to this wreck.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 412' x 52' x 25'
History: The Ashkhabad was a Russian tanker built originally as a freighter in Scotland in 1917. On April 29, 1942, she was being escorted by the ASW Trawler Lady Elsa while traveling in ballast from NY to Cuba.

Sinking: The tanker was torpedoed by the U-402 on its starboard side, sinking its stern. The crew abandoned ship, was rescued by the Lady Elsa, and taken to Morehead City. While salvage attempts were scheduled, the destroyer USS Semmes DD-189 and the HMS St. Zeono, with standing orders to "sink wrecks that might be a menace to navigation", shelled the vessel, sinking it completely.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-40 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: Lying on a sandy bottom, the high parts of this wreck are the boilers and the condenser. Some of the ribs of the ship can also be seen in the section forward of the boilers and deck plates and twisted beams are scattered about the wreck. Sheepshead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent this wreck. Because it is close the shoals, visibility is lower and moderate currents are common.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Coast Guard Cutter/Menhaden Fishing Vessel
Size: 170'
History: The Verbena was originally a 170-foot long US Coast Guard buoy tender. The ship was decommissioned and sold to become the menhaden fishing vessel Nancy Lee.

Sinking: In 1989, the vessel was sunk as an artificial reef in 60 feet of water east of Cape Lookout, inshore of the Caribsea.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-25 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Verbena is an intact wreck in relatively shallow water. The sandy bottom is about 60 feet deep and the wreck rises to within 25 feet of the surface. It is a successful artificial reef covered in fish life year round. It is center cabin vessel with little opportunity for penetration. On the bow of the vessel is a large cargo hold open to the sea, there is another large open bay on the stern of the ship.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Cargo freigher
Size: 261' x 44' x 24'
History: Built in 1919 by the McDougall-Duluth Shipbuilding Company, the Caribsea was originally named the Lake Flannery. She was an oli steam, single engine vessel with a top speed of 9.5 knots. Owned by the Panama Railroad Steamship Line, her home port was New York, NY. On the date of her sinking, she was sailing from Santiago, Cuba to Norfolk, VA with a cargo of magenese ore.

Sinking: The Caribsea was torpedoed and sunk by the U-158 on 10 March 1942. 21 crewmembers were killed in the attack.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice/Intermediate
Depth: 75-85 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-60 feet
Summer Temperature: 72-78 degrees

Dive Notes: The Caribsea is one of two sites on the east side of Cape Lookout shoals. Though wire dragged by the US Navy, parts of the ship remain partially intact with the windlass and anchors still visible. A relatively shallow site, she makes for a longer dive and is suitable for newer divers. Sand tiger sharks are typically present in large numbers, often swimming higher in the water column as well as on the wreck itself.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 446' x 58' x 27'
History: An oil tanker built in 1916 by Cramp & Sons in Philadelphia, the SS Atlas was owned by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (now Mobil). She was sailing alone from Houston, Texas to Seawarren, New Jersey, loaded with 83,00 barrels of gasoline, and under the command of Captain Hamilton Gray when she was attacked as she rounded Cape Lookout.

Sinking: The Atlas was torpedoed and sunk by the U-552, captained by KL Erich Topp, on 9 April 1942. Thirty-two survivors were rescued by the Coast Guard and taken to Morehead City, NC where they joined the rescued crew of the tanker, Tamaulipas. Two sailors perished in the attack.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-130 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-60 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Atlas is located on the east side of Cape Lookout and is usually paired with a dive on the Caribsea. It's a "darker" wreck by North Carolina standards, giving it a reputation for being "creepy". Plenty of discernable structure remains including the boilers, engine, anchors, propeller, and rudder. The Atlas is also a popular hang out for sand tiger sharks.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 441'
History: The British tanker British Splendour is yet another victim of the shooting gallery of the Atlantic. A 441 foot ship heavily laden with badly needed gasoline for the war in Europe the British Splendour had an extremely heavy escort for one ship. She was escorted by the armed trawler HMS St. Zeno and had a total of eight guns and an additional seven lookouts. Alas this was to be of no help to the luckless ship.

Sinking: At around ten p.m. on the night of April 7, 1942 the ship, under the command of Captain John Hall, was cruising approximately two miles north of the Diamond Shoals buoy. The weather was clear and seas were smooth, visibility was excellent and still no one saw the U-552 when it fired the shot that sank the British Splendour.

The U-552, under the command of Oberleutnant Erich Topp, would have a very productive voyage. Sinking five vessels on this deployment. Topp was a very aggressive captain as demonstrated by his sinking of the U.S. Destroyer Reuben James six weeks before America entered the war. His torpedo struck the engine room of the British Splendour on the port side aft, killing the men inside and blowing the skylight off the roof of the engine room. Captain Hall ordered the ship abandoned and an SOS be sent, forty-one men survived the sinking of the ship. The St. Zeno then began an ultimately unsuccessful search for the u-boat and then commenced rescue operation shortly afterwards.

Two hours after the torpedo was fired all the crewmembers were rescued and the bow barely showed above water. The ship came to rest in 110 feet of water about 14 southwest of Ocracoke inlet.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 75-100 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-75 ft.
Summer Temperature: 74-78 degrees

Dive Notes: Basically intact the ship has several large hole including a tear on the amidships starboard side and a hole in the port side engine room where the torpedo struck. The wreck of the British Splendour starts about 75 feet below water and continues to the sand at 100 feet. There are washouts around the wreck to 110 feet. The vessel lie about four hours from Beaufort and is not visited very frequently during the summer.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Submarine
Size: 298'
History: The USS Tarpon's keel was laid on December 22, 1933, her hull was launched on September 4,1935, and she was commissioned on March 12, 1936. The USS Tarpon was a modified Porpoise-Class sub. She was a Shark-Class sub and that class only had two subs. They had a range of 11,000 miles at speed of 10 knots without refueling. Her surface speed was 19 knots and her submerged speed was 8 knots. She had enough provisions to stay at sea for 75 days. The USS Tarpon was designated as P-4, and the USS Shark was designated P-3, the two members of the Shark-Class. The hulls of these two subs were all-welded, the difference in the other Porpoise-Class subs. These were the first all-welded hulls on U. S. Navy subs. This gave their 5/8 inch steel hulls a crush-depth rating of 250 feet.

Sinking: In June of 1957, the USS Tarpon was sold for scrap. As the tug Julia C. Moran was towing the USS Tarpon past Ocracoke Island, the USS Tarpon started taking on water in the stern. On August 26, 1957, the bow of the USS Tarpon rose up out of the water and she slid stern first to the bottom of the ocean.

Dive Profile

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 140 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-50 feet
Summer Temperature: 72-78degrees

Dive Notes: The bow is bent back, probably the result of a snagged trawling net. The gun and conning tower have both fallen off of the sub to the ocean floor. The sub is listing 20 degrees to port.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 60 feet but can get up over a 100 feet. There can be moderate currents on the USS Tarpon, so it is best to swim into them on the first part of the dive and let the current bring you back to the anchor line. The inside of the USS Tarpon is filled with silt, which can easily reduce a diver's visibility to zero. Only penetration-trained wreck divers should attempt penetration. There is plenty to see on the outside of the USS Tarpon.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Passenger-Freighter
Size: 406'
History: The Proteus was named after one of the mystical society organizations that take part in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In mythology, Proteus was the son of Neptune and Phoenice or Oceanus and Tethys, depending on the version you are using, either Greek or Roman. The Proteus was built in Newport News, Virginia and launched on December 16, 1899. She was considered one of the safest ships of their time. She had 46 staterooms for 78 first class passengers, 30 staterooms for 50 second class passengers, and 50 berths for third class passengers. The apartments were elegant and were equipped with electric fans and lights, and very comfortable chairs. There were enough chairs and lounges for every passenger to be seated at one time. The main dining room could hold 56 passengers at one sitting.

On January 27, 1916, the Proteus left New Orleans bound for New York with 95 passengers and crew. Captain John Nelson was in command of the ship. While heading down the Mississippi River in a dense fog, the Proteus hit the oil tanker Brabant. The Brabant had a hole above the waterline, but the Proteus was undamaged and proceeded to sea.

Captain Nelson was later replaced with Captain H. C. Boyd.

Sinking: On August 14, 1918, the Proteus left New Orleans bound for New York with 75 passengers and crew. On August 19, 1918, the Proteus was in a heavy fog 34 miles southwest of Diamond Shoals. Also in the heavy fog was the Cushing, an oil tanker. Both ships were running at reduced speed when the Cushing appeared out of the fog and hit the Proteus amidships. The Proteus had a large hole beneath her waterline and Captain Boyd gave the order to abandon ship. The ship was abandoned in less than an hour. Only one person died in the collision, which was a fireman aboard the Proteus that panicked and jumped into the water at the time of the collision and drowned. The Cushing was undamaged and picked up all of the survivors. Six hours later, the Proteus sank to the bottom.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 120 ft.
Visibility: Generally 70-80 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Proteus is a 406 foot long passenger-freighter that is in 120 feet of water with the highest part rising to about 90 feet. The wreck lies upright with most of the stern section intact. A large brass wheel that is attached to a long shaft is on the stern deck. The rudder is still in place and 4-blade 18-foot propeller is sticking up out of the sand. Three boilers and the condenser are in the midsection of the ship.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 60 feet but can get up over a 100 feet. Large schools of amberjack can be seen swimming around the wreck. Sea bass, pompano, and tropical fish, such as the Queen Angel can also be seen regularly.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 454' x 56' x 27'
History: The Tamaulipas is commonly called the Far East Tanker, not because it comes from the Far East, but because it lies far east from shore. The Tamaulipas is a 435 foot long tanker that is in 155 feet of water.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 155 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 72-78 degrees

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Rock Pile - Spearfishing'

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate-Advenced
Depth: 102 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Rock Pile is 26 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet at a depth of 102 feet. As the name implies, there is a pile of rocks on the ocean floor. These rocks were originally in a barge. There are some parts of the barge scattered around the rocks. The top of the rocks rises to 85 feet.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 60 feet but can get up over a 100 feet. Tropical fish, sheephead, spadefish, sea bass, hogfish, grouper, and snapper can be found swimming around the rocks. In the white sand around the rocks, flounder can be found. The cracks in the rocks provide great hiding spaces for lobster.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Deep Ocean Fishing Vessel
Size: 135' - 226 Tons

History: Built in 1954 she fished the Atlantic Ocean for ten years before she was caught in a violent storm off of Cape Lookout.

Sinking: When the Amagansett foundered in a storm on November 20, 1964 she sank in 130 feet of water about a half mile north west of the wreck of the Atlas.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate - Advanced
Depth: 130 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-30 feet
Summer Temperature: 74-78 degrees

Dive Notes: A small intact wreck it is often bypassed in lieu of the larger more interesting wreck of the Atlas. Conditions are similar to those found on the Atlas tanker with visibility in the 50-foot range. Mild currents are occasionally encountered on this wreck that can reduce visibility. Often called the "Shad Boat" the Amagansett is an interesting wreck to visit at least once.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Trawler
Size: 140'
History: The Novelty is another member of the North Carolina Artificial Reef Program. She was sunk in 1986 three miles offshore of the Ramada Inn in Atlantic Beach. The Novelty is 140 feet long and rest in 50 feet of water. Over the years the wreck has degraded badly but still rises to within about 35 feet of the surface. Another main attraction at this site is the center section of the old Morehead - Atlantic Beach bridge. When the old bridge was demolished, it was towed out to the site of the Novelty and sunk nearby.

The roadway on the bridge is a very interesting dive and many flounder can be found on this portion of the dive. Due to its proximity to shore and shallow depths this is a very good dive to use with training students. Unfortunately, the downside is that it's proximity to shore results in degraded visibility and occasional currents.

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 10-20 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Amphibious Cargo Ship
Size: 459'
History: The USS Yancey was launched on July 8, 1944 and commissioned on October 11, 1944 under the command of Commander Edward R. Rice, USNR.

Sinking: It was sunk as part of the artificial reef program in 1990. She is intact and laying on her starboard side.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 160 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Photo courtesy of Paul Huddy

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Dredge
Size: 175'
History: Not much information is available on the Lobster Wreck. In fact, the identity of the Lobster Wreck wasn't known for certain until August of 2000, when Brian Tate of Wilmington, NC found a manufacturer's plate on a winch he salvaged from the wreck. The plate was from the Ellicott Machine Company of Baltimore, Maryland. The company is still in business and after some research, matched the contract number on the plate to the winch that was installed on the Porta Allegra, built in 1908 with a 20-inch cutter. There are no records after the sale indicating that the Porta Allegra sank or if the winch had been moved to another dredge. (Courtesy of Paul Huddy, www.nc-wreckdiving.com)

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 125 ft.
Visibility: Generally 70-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 78-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Lobster Wreck is home to an abundance of tropical fish, as well has hog snapper, lionfish, and- you guessed it- lobster. It's a smaller wreck, and can covered in a single dive. The engine, boilers, anchor, and cutting head are prominently featured.

WATCH

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: British Armed Trawler
Size: 162'
History: The British government, after being "leased" 50 World War I-era destroyers and 10 Lake Class Coast Guard cutters, sent 24 armed trawlers and their crews to help protect merchant ships from the German U-Boats. The HMS Bedfordshire was under the command of Lieutenant R. B. Davis and had a crew of 36 men. Her patrol area was from Norfolk, Virginia to Cape Lookout. In addition to escorting tankers and freighters, the HMS Bedfordshire also performed lone patrols searching for U-Boats.

Sinking: On the night of May 12, 1942, the U-558 was patrolling offshore of Cape Lookout. Kapitanleutnant Gunter Krech, thus far unable to sink any freighters or tankers during this patrol, took aim on the Bedfordshire and fired a single torpedo, sinking her instantly. The attack had been so swift that no message had been transmitted from the HMS Bedfordshire. For two days, everyone thought she was still on patrol and was observing radio silence. On May 14, 1942, two bodies washed up on the beach of Ocracoke. The bodies were identified as Stanley Craig, telegraphist, and Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Cunningham, both from the HMS Bedfordshire. They are buried with two other crewmembers in a small cemetary on Ocracoke.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 105 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The wreck is in three separate pieces with two of the pieces within 75 feet of each other and the third, 200 feet away. The damage from the torpedo was extensive and the highest part of the wreck is only four feet. There are a lot of I-beams, deck plates, pipes, and pieces of machinery scattered about the sand, as well as six depth charges. Large schools of amberjack and spadefish can be seen swimming around the wreck. Sea bass and grouper are typically present.

NOAA's report on the HMS Bedfordshire from their 2009 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Landing craft repair ship
Size: 328' x 50' x 14'
History: The USS Indra was commissioned 2 October 1945, just after the end of World War II. In 1947, after passing through the Panama Canal, she saw service in the Far East where she supported US Marines in their efforts to stabilize the escalating crisis with China. She also served in Vietnam in 1968 as a tender and floating base for the Mobile Riverine Force. She spent her final years serving in the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Sinking: Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1989, USS Indra was transfered to the State of NC and sunk in 1992 as part of the artificial reef program.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice
Depth: 35-70 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-50 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-78 degrees

Dive Notes: Before sinking the ship, large holes were cut into the sides to allow for access, making it easy to penetrate. The insides are open as many of the bulkheads were removed. The wreck of the Indra is home to a variety of marine life. During late summer, it is not uncommon to see tropical fish such as yellow tang or damselfish. Octopi and eels are often found hiding under and around the wreckage. The occasional stingray or shark can be seen off to the sides of the ship or swimming along the upper decks.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Freighter
Size: 312' x 45' x 20'
History: The Normannia sank in a storm on 17 January 1924.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Normannia is among the most picturesque wrecks in North Carolina. The bow and stern sections remain mostly intact and the wreck is very easy to navigate. A healthy reef, it is home to colorful tropical fish, as well as schools of jacks and baitfish. Turtles and rays are common, as are lobster.

LOCATION

Radio Island is between the high rise bridge and the draw bridge that connect Morehead City to Beaufort. The rock jetty runs parallel to the beach at the end of Radio Island near the U.S. Navy's Landing Ramp where a chain link fence separates it from the rest of the island. There is a parking lot for your vehicle, but you'll have to walk a quarter mile down the beach to reach the dive site.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 0-43 ft.
Visibility: 5-15 ft.
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The jetty has a 45 degree slope that ends at the white sand of the channel. Going down to the bottom at the fence, the depth is 33 feet. Going back toward Beaufort, toward the green day marker, the depth gets to 43 feet. Radio Island Rock Jetty should be dove on the slack tides, preferably high slack tide. Visibility averages 6 - 10 feet, but can be in the 15 - 20 foot range on the rare occasion, but can also be in the 3 - 5 foot range. The water temperature during the summer months is in the low 80's.

Even though it is a beach dive, tropical fish are present. Butterflyfish, sergeant majors, and juvenile angelfish can be seen in the summer months. Colorful sponges can be seen growing on the rocks and game fish, such as sea bass, flounder, sheepshead, and spadefish can be found there most of the year. Since it is a shore dive, its location makes it ideal for Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Rescue, and Specialty classes. (Text adopted from Sportdiver.com)

We often run trips to Radio Island using our pontoon boat to carry gear. Check our calendar page for dates!


Wreck Site

The site of the Russian tanker Ashkhabad sits in only 55-60 feet of water. The site consists of a large, widely dispersed scatter due to the demolition and wire dragging conducted by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard as part of a program to clear vessel remains in shallow water that posed a hazard to navigation. As a result, the Ashkhabad's remains are characterized by low relief (the highest point being the tops of the three massive boilers), distributed along a flat, sandy bottom.

Ashkhabad's anchor. Click here for a larger image. Photo: NOAA Ashkhabad survey optimized for feature identification. Click here for a larger image. Image: SRI/NOAA Multibeam survey of Ashkhabad (NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, 2016) Click here for a larger image. Image: NOAA


Discover the The Admiral Hotel whose restrained exterior architecture from the Depression era belies its grand interior: marble floors, an oval-shaped balcony area topped with a chandelier, mirrored walls, and original Art Deco elevator doors.

The Admiral Hotel Mobile, Curio Collection by Hilton, a charter member of Historic Hotels of America since 1989, dates back to 1940.

A founding member of Historic Hotels of America, The Admiral Hotel has stood as a cherished local landmark in downtown Mobile for nearly a century. Formerly the “Admiral Semmes Hotel,” the Admiral Hotel was named for Raphael Semmes, an admiral in the Confederate navy during the American Civil War. While Semmes captained several vessels in the war, his most noteworthy command was the CSS Alabama. Under his tutelage, the CSS Alabama would emerge as a highly successful commerce raider throughout the course of the conflict. Semmes’ himself managed to seize 65 maritime prizes, becoming the most successful commerce raider in history. After the war, though, Semmes returned to Mobile, Alabama, where he pursued a number of different careers. Among the job titles that Semmes held included county judge, newspaper editor, and philosophy professor.

When it opened as the “Admiral Semmes Hotel” in 1940, the building displayed some of the finest Art Deco architecture in the area. Furthermore, the hotel was the first business of its kind in Mobile to provide air-conditioning and a telephone in every guestroom. It was also one of three hotels within city limits and featured a cocktail lounge, coffee shop, drug store, and even a “National Airlines Office.” The luxurious amenities inside the Admiral Semmes Hotel inspired travelers to visit from all across the country, including some of the greatest historical figures in the nation’s history. Among the numerous celebrities and dignitaries to stay at the hotel over the years included, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, and Jimmy Stewart.

In 2014, a Mississippi-based company called the “Thrash Group” acquired the site and initiated an extensive renovation that saw its rebirth as “The Admiral Hotel.” Architect James Flick spearheaded the project, which completely restored the building’s grand historical character. Flick and his team specifically focused on rehabilitating the opulent lobby, the dining facilities, and the makeover of the 170 guestrooms into 150 updated guestrooms and five luxurious suites on the top floor. The Art Deco architectural style of the Depression-era is still fully apparent from the outside of the hotel. Upon entering the hotel's lobby, however, guests encounter a contrastingly different impression, with marble floors, mirrored walls, original Art Deco elevator doors, and an oval-shaped balcony area topped with a chandelier. After completing renovations, the hotel re-opened as “The Admiral Hotel” to great local acclaim.

The city of Mobile is one of the most historic places in the nation. The site of the present city was originally explored by the Spanish as early as the beginning of the 16th century, shortly after Christopher Columbus established the first European colony in the “New World.” Yet, the first permanent European settlers arrived nearly two centuries later, when Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville led a group of French colonists several miles up the Mobile River in 1702. Here, he established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane” on behalf of the Colonial Governor of French Louisiana—who happened to also be his brother—Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville. As disease began ravaging the population, Bienville instructed the colonists to relocate downstream to the river’s confluence with Mobile Bay. They erected a new fort in 1711 and small community quickly emerged over the next several decades. The small village soon became known as “Mobile,” named for the “Maubilla” Indians that once lived nearby. Even though the colonial outpost struggled to grow in size, its functioned as the capital of Colonial Louisiana during the first years of its existence. But when war erupted between France and Spain in 1719, Bienville decided to relocate the colony’s administrative offices further west to the emerging settlement of Biloxi. Meanwhile, Mobile effectively served as a military outpost between the two warring kingdoms, with the local colonial populations fighting against each other. Mobile eventually found its footing within the French Empire, acting as a major commercial trading center with the local Native Americans. The British eventually seized the entirety of Mobile Bay, though, after the Seven Years’ War, when France ceded it to Great Britain. The area subsequently joined the British colony of “West Florida,” until it was given to the Spanish following the American Revolution.

Mobile and the rest of the modern Alabama coastline continued to be a part of Spanish-controlled Florida until the War of 1812. An American army stationed in New Orleans invaded the region under the pretense that its merchants were selling arms to native tribes allied with the British. But the United States had long disagreed over the exact location of Spanish Florida’s western border, which further incentivized the Americans to seize the region. Spain ultimately relented, signing the territory over to the United States. Mobile and the land surrounding Mobile Bay joined the Mississippi Territory, although that union proved to short-lived. The territory subsequently split in two, with the western half becoming the state of Mississippi in 1817. The eastern portion bordering Georgia joined the nation as “Alabama” two years later. While the state capital was founded in Montgomery to the north, Mobile emerged as Alabama’s most prosperous city. It rapidly became one of the busiest port cities in the South, second only to New Orleans in its affluence. In fact, by the 1850s, Mobile was one of the top five seaports in the whole nation. Its commercial importance eventually played a major role during the American Civil War of the mid-19th century, when the newly formed Confederacy relied upon its maritime commerce to supply its nascent war effort. The Union eventually attempted to blockade the city, but ships known as blockade runners occasionally managed to evade capture. Mobile’s significance to the rebel war effort became all the more vital when New Orleans was occupied by northern soldiers in early 1862. Eventually, the Lincoln administration sought fit to seize Mobile itself, instructing Admiral David Farragut to attack the city. While the city itself never fell to the North, its surrounding harbor was effectively captured by Farragut’s command following the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

After the war, Mobile struggled to reassert itself as one of America’s preeminent ports, eventually going bankrupt in 1879. But its economy gradually improved, especially after local ship captains began importing tropical fruits alongside their normal exports of lumber and cotton. The maritime trade received a much-needed boast, though, in 1914, when construction finally ended on the Panama Canal, allowing the city’s merchants to trade more easily with markets on the other side of the world. Later developments emerged, too, that helped the city’s naval commerce to return, including the creation of the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as the Alabama State Docks. Industrialization also took root in the city around the same time, giving rise to factories that contributed greatly to the development of a localized shipbuilding industry. Perhaps the most prominent shipbuilding company to appear in Mobile was the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company, which constructed countless cargo vessels during World War II. Another prominent company was a subsidiary of the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation called the Waterman Steamship Corporation. It subsequently built freighters, destroyers, and minesweepers in the war, too. Other major industries appeared by the middle of the century, including chemicals, textiles, and vehicle components. Paper products also became a central fixture in the city’s economy, with the Scott Paper Company and International Paper employing a large segment of its population. But the time period also saw the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, in which racial equality became a major aspect of the city’s political landscape. While Mobile had been more open to desegregation than most other southern cities, its education system remained separated on the basis of race well after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled the practice unjust. In 1963, three African American students sued the Mobile County School Board in federal court, citing the majority decisions presented in Brown v. Board of Education. The federal court ruled in their favor, forcing Murphy High School to completely desegregate by the next school year.

Today, Mobile is a vibrant, modern city filled with all sorts of outstanding cultural attractions to visit. Among the most popular destinations in the area are GulfQuest National Maritime Museum, Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, and a colonial citadel named “Fort Conde.” Its shoreline is also home to Battleship Memorial Park, where the famed World War II-era battleship, the USS Alabama, acts as a museum. Modern Mobile is also home to one of the earliest authentic Mardi Gras festivals in the whole United States, rivaling New Orleans in its grandiose character. Its downtown still reflects much of its historic character, as evidenced by the Victorian-era mansions and cottages that line its historic Oakley Garden District. To the west, even more historic buildings reside within the fabulous Old Dauphin Way District. Few places are truly better in the Gulf Coast for a historically inspired vacation than the brilliant city of Mobile.

The Admiral Hotel in downtown Mobile is among the most beautiful skyscrapers standing in the city today. Upon entering the hotel's lobby, guests will encounter historic marble floors, mirrored walls, an original Art Deco elevator, and an oval-shaped balcony area topped with a gorgeous chandelier. The building itself is a wonderful example of Art Deco design aesthetics, which is one of the most famous architectural styles in the world. The form originally emerged from a desire from architects to break with past precedents to find architectural inspiration from historical examples. Instead, professionals within the field aspired to forge their own design principles. More importantly, they hoped that their ideas would better reflect the technological advances of the modern age. As such, historians today often consider Art Deco to be a part of the much wider proliferation of cultural “Modernism” that first appeared at the dawn of the 20th century. Art Deco as a style first became popular in 1922, when Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen submitted the first blueprints to feature the form for contest to develop the headquarters of the Chicago Tribune. While his concepts did not win over the judges, they were widely publicized, nonetheless. Architects in both North America and Europe soon raced to copy his format in their own unique ways, giving birth to modern Art Deco architecture. The international embrace of Art Deco had risen so quickly that it was the central theme to the renowned Exposition des Art Decoratifs in Paris a few years later. Architects the world over fell in love with Art Deco’s sleek, linear appearance defined by a series of sharp setbacks. They also adored its geometric decorations that featured such motifs like chevrons and zigzags. But in spite of the deep admiration people felt toward Art Deco, interest with the style gradually dissipated throughout the mid-20th century. Many examples of Art Deco architecture survive today, with the some of the best located in such places like New York City, Chicago, and Miami Beach.

Bob Hope, comedian and patron of the United Service Organization (USO).

Elvis Presley, singer, musician and actor, affectionately known as the “King of Rock.”

Jimmy Stewart, actor known for his roles in such films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance, and It’s a Wonderful Life.


Ashkhabad

Type: Tanker
Size: 412' x 52' x 25'
History: The Ashkhabad was a Russian tanker built originally as a freighter in Scotland in 1917. On April 29, 1942, she was being escorted by the ASW Trawler Lady Elsa while traveling in ballast from NY to Cuba.

Sinking: The tanker was torpedoed by the U-402 on its starboard side, sinking its stern. The crew abandoned ship, was rescued by the Lady Elsa, and taken to Morehead City. While salvage attempts were scheduled, the destroyer USS Semmes DD-189 and the HMS St. Zeono, with standing orders to "sink wrecks that might be a menace to navigation", shelled the vessel, sinking it completely.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-40 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: Lying on a sandy bottom, the high parts of this wreck are the boilers and the condenser. Some of the ribs of the ship can also be seen in the section forward of the boilers and deck plates and twisted beams are scattered about the wreck. Sheepshead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent this wreck. Because it is close the shoals, visibility is lower and moderate currents are common.


An expanded sanctuary

In an effort to honor the service and sacrifice of those lost during the Battle of the Atlantic, in 2019 NOAA will release a draft proposal to expand the boundaries of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. The proposal will include a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks that currently have little or no legal protection. The expansion would also establish the largest area designated as a World War II battlefield anywhere in the world.


Watch the video: WT. USS Sumner DD-692 - Ship Review incl. 5 Min Guide feat. Drachinifel