Media advisory: NOAA to explore WWII Japanese submarines near Pearl Harbor

Webcast followed by media phone interviews
November 22, 2016 On Wed., Dec. 7, media and the public will have their first opportunity to view a live dive to two Japanese mini submarines involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.
Mounted on the after deck of the “mother” submarine I-24, midget submarine HA-19 is boarded by its crew, Kazuo Sakamaki and Kiyoshi Inagaki, in the pre-dawn hours of December 7, 1941.

Maritime archaeologists and scientists with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, who coordinated the expedition, will be available for phone interviews following the dive.

The team will be using a remotely operated vehicle from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to revisit the historic wrecksite and document its condition. The dive will be live-streamed to the public.  

Live online dive to the wrecks of two WWII Japanese mini submarines near Pearl Harbor.


December 7, 6:30 a.m. HST (8:30 a.m. PST, 11:30 a.m. EST)


Live streaming at

  • James Delgado, director of maritime heritage, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

  • Brian Kennedy, expedition coordinator, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

  • Frank Cantelas, marine archaeologist, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

  • Hans Van Tilburg, marine archaeologist and historian, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, U.S. naval vessels and aircraft on patrol outside Pearl Harbor spotted a partially submerged submarine trying to enter the harbor, but alerts were not immediately sent. Ninety minutes before Pearl Harbor was bombed by air, the destroyer USS Ward fired on the mini submarine, sinking it as it attempted to enter the harbor. The event marks the first U.S. shots fired and the country’s entry into World War II in the Pacific.

The second submarine to be explored during the dive disappeared that morning before the attack. It was discovered in shallow waters in 1951, raised by the U.S. Navy, and taken out to sea to be dumped in deeper water. In 1992, the University of Hawaii’s Undersea Research Laboratory rediscovered it. It has been periodically visited by the university’s submersibles, the last time in 2013.  

Photos, background information and videos will be available Dec. 1 at

Media contacts:
Vernon Smith,
Sarah Marquis, 949-222-2212