Billionaire Paul Allen and team find sunken Japanese warship off Philippines

Thu Mar 5, 2015 4:59am EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - A team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has found the sunken Japanese warship Musashi, one of the largest battleships ever built, where it was sunk during World War Two off the coast of the Philippines, the billionaire said on Wednesday.

The team used Allen's yacht the M/Y Octopus, relying on the ship's advanced technology, historical records and detailed topographical data, to discover and photograph the warship in the Sibuyan Sea on Sunday, ending a decades-long mystery about its exact location, a statement on Allen's website said.

U.S. aircraft sank the Musashi on Oct. 24, 1944, killing more than 1,000 Japanese, or about half the vessel's crew.

"Mr. Allen has been searching for the Musashi for more than eight years and its discovery will not only help fill in the narrative of World War Two's Pacific theater but bring closure to the families of those lost," said the statement.

The Musashi, which was named after a province in Japan, was commissioned in August 1942.

The shipwreck needed to be verified but would be of major historical significance, said Manuel Luis Quezon III, the Philippines' presidential communications undersecretary and resident historian.

"This would be like finding the Titanic, because of the status of the ship and the interest in the ship," Quezon said. Quezon's grandfather was president of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation of World War Two.

Herminio Coloma, the president's press secretary, said the discovery of the Japanese warship, an archeological artifact, is covered by the Philippine cultural heritage law.   Continued...

A wheel on a valve from a lower engineering area on the sunken Japanese warship Musashi, one of the largest battleships ever built, is seen in an undated handout image from a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen off the coast of the Philippines in the Sibuyan Sea released March 4, 2015.  REUTERS/Paul G. Allen/Handout via Reuters