The amount of debris scattered across the Philippine seafloor where the WWII battleship Musashi was found by American billionaire Paul Allen and his team seem to indicate that the massive warship exploded underwater after it sank some seventy years ago.
It can be remembered that the said WWII battleship was battered and sank by the Americans in the Sibuyan Sea, Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf resulting to the death of half of its 2,400 crew members. During that time, it was one of Japan’s biggest and most well-known warships. Japanese battleship Musashi was last seen sinking down into Philippine waters after it was rammed by torpedoes. However, what happened to it while going under remained unknown until now.
An unmanned submersible went down Friday, March 13, and gave out a two-and-a-half-hour live feed on the sunk battleship which allowed a research team composed of experts analyze to see the very first detailed images of Musashi after it sank on October of 1944.
According to David Mearns of the team, a marine scientist, the wreck of the battleship appeared to be very damaged leading to the great possibility that she suffered at least one or two magazine explosions as she was going down underneath based on the sheered off bow and and stern as well as the whole middle section of the Musashi‘s structure.
The footage also showed how marine life adapted the battleship wreckage as part of their habitat — fishes and other marine creatures can be seen passing through and by the rusted debris of the Musashi which were scattered over a wide area while there are some large chunks of the battleship that are covered with corals.
Additionally, the footage from the unmanned sub showed a round teak base on the bow of the battleship that held the chrysanthemum seal which is the Imperial Seal of Japan. Only a few warships were allowed to carry the said seal and for the discovery of the Musashi, it was one of the key reasons why Japanese experts and surviving crew members of the said battleship were convinced the remains found by Paul Allen’s team was indeed that of the massive war vessel.
Kazushige Todaka, a Japanese historian the head of the Yamato Museum and a battleship expert, is fully convinced the remains found on the Philippine seafloor was that of the Musashi and said so in a recent interview.
He also added that based on position of the stern – it was already upside down – and the upright bow section, the battleship did have an explosion.
He pointed that closer examination of the live footage taken by the unmanned equipment would be a great help in determining what really happened to the battleship as it was sinking to the bottom of the sea. Todaka is also very hopeful that the discovery of the Musashi would be the start of the discovery of the remains of other unaccounted warships.
The experts all agree that it would be hard to pull the battleship up though technically, it would be possible. As of now, the team is working with the governments of the Japan and the Philippines over the remains of the battleship.