From its advanced survey vessel, the Fugro Equator, skilled survey personnel from Fugro will use a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder to conduct a bathymetric survey and a sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicle for close examination of the search area.
The expedition will be led by the not-for-profit-company Find AE1 Ltd and supported by Fugro, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Submarine Institute of Australia. The Silentworld Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on Australasian maritime archaeology, and the Royal Australian Navy are the major sponsors funding the search that aims to locate this significant part of Australia’s history and enable proper commemoration.
The Australian Government announced it would match private investment to fund the expedition to search for HMAS AE1, the country’s first submarine, and its crew. Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the government would provide $500,000 to allow Find AE1 Limited to proceed. “HMAS AE1 is one of the world’s great maritime mysteries and this expedition will be one of the most comprehensive searches for the submarine,” Minister Payne added. “The Government is proud to join the Silentworld Foundation, Australian National Maritime Museum and Fugro in supporting Find AE1.”
The submarine was lost without a trace on 14th September 1914 while patrolling waters off then German New Guinea. The fate of the vessel and the men on board, comprising Australian, New Zealand and British subjects, is still unknown.