Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

More Than a Rich Man's Hobby? Microsoft Co-Founder May Have Discovered a WWII Battleship

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

More Than a Rich Man's Hobby? Microsoft Co-Founder May Have Discovered a WWII Battleship

Article excerpt

It took Paul Allen eight years, but he's finally done it.

The Microsoft co-founder said he has found the Musashi, a long- lost Japanese battleship that sank off the coast of the Philippines during World War II, according to the expedition's webpage.

Using historical records, topographical data, and the technology aboard the superyacht M/Y Octopus, Mr. Allen said he and his research team discovered the Musashi - one of the largest battleships ever built - about 1 kilometer below the surface of the Sibuyan Sea.

The 73,000-ton vessel went down on Oct. 24, 1944, when American naval forces sank it in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Allen posted images of the shipwreck on Twitter Monday, a day after the discovery.

WW2 Battleship Musashi sank 1944 is FOUND > 1K M deep by MY Octopus Sibuyan sea, bow Chrysanthemum, huge anchor. b9ZMA0icI8-- Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) March 2, 2015

RIP crew of Musashi, appx 1023 lost. The pic of the valve 1st confirmation of Japanese origin (clues 2 use apprec). Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) March 2, 2015

Musashi expedition captures amazing video of remarkable WWII warship Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) March 4, 2015

"Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father's service in the US Army," Allen said, according to the expedition's official press release.

"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," he added. "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 discovery has yet to be validated by the Japanese government, but Allen's work does mark the latest in efforts by wealthy patrons to support undersea exploration, a time-consuming, expensive, and often neglected endeavor.

Most oceanographers, who traditionally rely on the National Science Foundation for grants to support their projects, have for the last few years felt the impact of rising fuel prices and other costs related to maintaining research vessels, The Washington Post reported.

"Funding is getting harder and harder to come by," says David Gallo, director of special projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "It's very frustrating."

A big part of the problem is that oceanography just doesn't seem as sexy as, say, space exploration.

To break it down in numbers: In 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, which runs ocean research as well as climate forecasting, fishery management, and others, received a little over $23 million in government funding for its exploration program, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. …

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