USS Monitor was discovered in 1973.
A US warship has been found to be in “astounding condition” despite being on the seafloor off the coast of North Carolina since 1862.
In the latest expedition, Valor in the Atlantic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries partnered with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration to investigate the wreck. To their surprise, the team found that the ship was in much better condition than previously expected. They said that over the last 160 years, the warship has avoided being overwhelmed by time itself.
According to Newsweek, the Civil War ironclad Union Navy warship, USS Monitor, foundered and sank 16 miles off Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina coast around 160 years ago. Sixteen men died after the warship became overwhelmed by a storm.
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The wreckage of the USS Monitor was discovered in 1973 and was then designated a National Marine Sanctuary in 1975. Since then, the warship has been visited as part of various expeditions to recover the turret, propeller and other artefacts for preservation.
Now, after an ROV, a remotely operated underwater vehicle, was used to examine the site, Tane Renata Casserley, resource protection and permit coordinator at the NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, said "The wreck is in an astounding condition after being on the seafloor for 160 years and weathering all of the environmental conditions off Cape Hatteras, including exceedingly strong currents and hurricanes."
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As per the media outlet, Ms Casserley also added that the iron hull and armour belt built to withstand the rigours of war have now also enabled the USS Monitor to provide a stable habitat in its new role as an island of life. “It was truly incredible to see the transformation at the bottom of the ocean. There was often so much marine life on the Monitor it was difficult to see the shipwreck itself,” she added.
The NOAA informed that there are healthy corals living at the wreck site that are swarming with life, and even predators like tiger sharks are present at the so-called “living shipwreck”. It said that the USS Monitor was the oldest and most important shipwreck as it was the first US warship built with a revolutionary rotating gun turret.