HMAS AE1 Search Mission Inconclusive

Catafalque Party Rabaul Dawn Service.jpg

HMAS Yarra has completed a mission to search for the Royal Australian Navy submarine, HMAS AE1, off the Duke of York Islands, Papua New Guinea, which has resulted in the discovery of a number of contacts of interest.


Some of the contacts discovered in the search from 6-9 September were able to be classified as natural objects. One contact remains unidentified and will require further investigation, the timing of which will be subject to operational requirements.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, is in Rabaul for commemoration activities marking Australia’s involvement in the region in the First World War and said that these types of contacts were frequent in the region due to large rocky outcrops or ridging along the sea bed, as well as battle debris from the war.

“The sea bed in the search area is a very steep volcanic shelf with numerous large rocks. The water deepens quickly as it extends from the coast,” he said.

The Royal Australian Navy is working closely with the Government of Papua New Guinea, traditional communities and other government departments to investigate contacts as they are reported.

HMAS Yarra’s crew will participate in the commemorative activities ashore in Rabaul, including a service on 14 September marking 100 years since the loss of AE1.

HMAS AE1 Search Mission Inconclusive
Press Release, September 11, 2014; Image: Australian Navy