“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” said James Delgado, chief scientist of the Independence mission. The ship lies almost perfectly upright, only slightly listing to starboard. Image: NOAA
An ongoing mandate to locate and assess the condition of some 300 shipwrecks within California’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA, the U.S. Navy, and some unspecified private business partners have surveyed the USS Independence, the United States’ lead light aircraft ship during World War II. The Independence was stationed on the central and western Pacific stage during the war, and was one of over 90 vessels present during “Operation Crossroads,” the famous series of atmospheric nuclear weapons tests which took place off Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands during the summer of 1946.