Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his research team have found the wreckage of one of the world’s largest battleships off the coast of the Philippines.
The Musashi, also one of the most technically advanced battleships ever made, is “considered an engineering marvel,” according to Allen’s team. Considered a significant part of naval history, the Allen team’s March 1 discovery concludes an eight-year investigation to find the Imperial Japanese Navy ship.
Allen led the team aboard his superyacht the Octopus to find the Musashi. They’ve already released a slew of incredible photographs as well as a highly detailed video of the wreckage so far, found about 1 kilometer down. You can follow all the updates on his site here.
How did they find it? Allen and his team used records from four countries, “detailed undersea topographical data” and technology, of course, to find the battleship in the Sibuyan Sea. In February, the search heated up, with Allen’s team using a BlueFin-12 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle to aid the search. They found it on their third dive, then sent a remote operated vehicle with a high-definition camera to take pictures to confirm it was the ship they were looking for.
Allen posted the discovery to Twitter on Monday:
WW2 Battleship Musashi sank 1944 is FOUND > 1K M deep by MY Octopus Sibuyan sea, bow Chrysanthemum, huge anchor. pic.twitter.com/b9ZMA0icI8
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) March 2, 2015
“Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army,” said Allen in a statement. “The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction. I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honoring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her.”
The battleship was commissioned in 1942 and weighed 73,000 tons when fully loaded. It also had 18-inch armor plating and was armed with nine 18-inch guns, the largest mounted on a warship. American war planes sunk the Musashi in what is considered the largest naval encounter of the war with “an estimated 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs” on Oct. 24, 1944, in the lead up to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Nearly half of the ship’s 2,399 crew members died, including the commander.
Allen’s team will treat the wreckage as a war grave and plans to work with the Japanese government to ensure the site is handled according to their traditions, although The Japan Times reported that “spokespeople for the Philippines navy and coast guard said they were not informed of the discovery.”
Watch some of the first footage from the wreck below: