Spring – French Navy
In spring of 2010, the French Navy continued to support the search for theBonhomme Richard, sending a mine hunting vessel, Cassiopé, to help with target investigation. The ship is equipped with a Remotely Operated Vehicle and a team of divers, who can dive up to 60 meters in depth.
The survey successfully built on past search efforts, in particular through examination of magnetic anomalies located in 2009, and has prepared the grounds for the upcoming mission in September 2010 through evaluating nearly thirty targets and several shipwrecks in a high-priority area. Collaboration with the French Navy throughout the mission was exemplary and although the remains of Bonhomme Richard were not located, the operation accomplished the objective of clearing the prescribed survey boxes and overall area of possible targets with a fair to high degree of confidence.
Summer – US Navy
The 2010 BHR Expedition had incredible support from the U.S. Navy, with the USNS HENSON as the working platform. The team had the benefit of two Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and a side scan sonar to search for wrecks on the seabed. Four midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy also participated in the mission. They had all taken the USNA’s new online course, Historic Shipwrecks, so were well-versed in the history, science, and technology that form the foundation of the project. The survey covered 70 square miles of the North Sea, and produced 35 priority sites worthy of further investigation with a Remotely Operated Vehicle during the next survey.
We wish to thank the following collaborators for their support in this search for one of the Navy’s own:
A known, modern wreck as seen through the eyes of the Klein 5000 side scan sonar.
Photo: M. Ryan