HMAS AE1, the first to submarine to serve in the Royal Australian Navy, was lost at sea with all hands near Papua New Guinea on September 14, 1914.
Despite several searches, the HMAS AE1‘s wreck has never been found, but a new search effort will conduct a bathymetric survey and UAV search from the Fugro Equator, which participated in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, in an effort to solve the WW1 mystery.
The Australian Government announced it would match private investment to fund the expedition to search for HMAS AE1 and its crew.
The expedition will be led not-for-profit-company Find AE1 Ltd and supported by geotechnical survey firm 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 the historic vessel and enable proper commemoration.
Survey personnel from Fugro Equator survey vessel will use a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder to conduct a bathymetric survey, along with an autonomous underwater vehicle for close examination of the search area.
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 HMAS AE1 had Australian, British and New Zealand crew members aboard when she was lost.