US billionaire ocean explorer Victor Vescovo announced today that the submersible Limiting Factor, operated by him and sonar expert Jeremie Morizet, has located the shipwreck of the US Navy destroyer Samuel B. Roberts nearly 4.3 miles below the surface of the ocean.
“With sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet, I piloted the submersible Limiting Factor to the wreck of the Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413). Resting at 6,895 meters (4.28 miles), it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed. It was indeed the ‘destroyer escort that fought like a battleship,” Vescovo tweeted today.
Images made by the Limiting Factor show the hull structure, guns and torpedo tubes of the ship as well as holes from Japanese shells.
“It appears her bow hit the seafloor with some force, causing some buckling. Her stern also separated about 5 meters on impact, but the whole wreck was together. This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end.”
The ‘Sammy B,’ launched in January 1944, was sunk just a few months later, in the Battle of Samar in the Philippines which is often referred to as one of the greatest last stands in naval history.
The destroyer was part of a small US fleet which, despite being outnumbered and unprepared, managed to adapt to the circumstances and to contain a much stronger Japanese force. Of the Samuel B Roberts’ 224-man crew, 89 were killed.
“The Sammy B engaged the Japanese heavy cruisers at point blank range and fired so rapidly it exhausted its ammunition; it was down to shooting smoke shells and illumination rounds just to try to set fires on the Japanese ships, and it kept firing. It was just an extraordinary act of heroism. Those men – on both sides – were fighting to the death,” ocean explorer added.
The discovery of the world’s deepest shipwreck marks just one more record set by Vescovo.
In March 2021, he piloted his submersible to the USS Johnston which also sank during the Battle of Samar. Two separate, eight-hour dives “constituted the deepest wreck dives, manned or unmanned, in history.”