Scientists Launch Comprehensive Deepwater Shipwreck Study

What happens to shipwrecks in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and why is the answer so important to the oil and gas industry? A team of world-renowned, multidisciplinary scientists representing the federal government, academia, and industry will begin a biological and archaeological investigation of World War II shipwrecks in the deep waters of the Gulf that will address those questions and many more.

Just as the importance of our oceans is being recognized and studied by several independent commissions, this research mission will provide new information to answer questions about some of the least studied areas of the Gulf. The $1.2 million study will take 18 days and employ the use of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to explore selected deepwater shipwrecks.

In addition to the archaeological and historical aspects of the study, the biological questions -- Do manmade structures function as artificial reefs in deepwater? What is the effect of the structure on the environment? What effect does the environment have on the structure? -- have serious implications for the thousands of oil and gas platforms used in the Gulf.

Scientists from the team will be on hand at the media availability in Houston this Thursday to discuss plans for the research cruise, use of the ROV, explain the public educational outreach component of the study, and answer questions.

The announcement is being held at the Sonsub Facility to allow for filming and photo opportunity with an ROV and with a model of the sunken German U-boat that is part of the study along with video footage.

What: Announcement of the most comprehensive study of deepwater shipwrecks ever undertaken and an opportunity to question the scientists involved

When: Thursday, July 22, 2004 at 10:00 a.m.

Where: Sonsub Facility - 15950 Park Row, Houston, TX 77084
From downtown, travel approximately 16 miles west on I-10 (Katy Freeway) to Exit 751 State Highway 6 (SH-6). Exit the freeway and turn right onto SH6. At the first red light (Part Row) take a left. The Sonsub facility is approximately one mile on the right on Park Row.

Partners in the Study:
  • Minerals Management Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Oceanographic Partnership Program
  • C&C Technologies, Inc.
  • Droycon Bioconcepts
  • University of Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of West Florida
  • The PAST Foundation
  • Montana State University
  • Sonsub
  • Media Contacts:

    Minerals Management Service
    Caryl Fagot
    (504) 736-2590

    Sonsub Inc.
    Tracie Ross
    (281) 552-5814
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