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29th Oct 2021

Lost ‘ghost ships’ emerge after underwater volcano erupts

Danny Jones

'Ghost ships' appear in Japanese islands

A once-sunken piece of the past rising to the surface

A collection of so-called ‘ghost ships’ have suddenly emerged off the coast of Japan’s Ogasawara Islands after a series of underwater volcanoes erupted, bringing with them a number of sunken vessels.

As reported by TV Asahi (a Japanese news network) and the Independent, the World War II ships have popped up some 1,200km south of Tokyo, close to the infamous volcanic island of Iwo Jima which sits isolated in the Pacific Ocean.

The volcanic eruptions themselves took place as early as August 13th – the Fukutoku-Okanoba volcano essentially forming a new island according to reports – and the first glimpses of these sunken ships from the Second World War appeared around October 18th. You can see footage taken from Japanese news here:

It is thought that the whereabouts of a fleet of ships had been known for some time following their destruction in the Battle of Iwo Jima back in 1945, but this is the first time the boats have been visually identified since they sank.

As you can see in the helicopter footage above – taken by Japan’s All Nippon News (ANN) – 24 different vessels have risen to the surface and are believed to be deliberately scuttled US ships.

These American transport boats were purposely destroyed close to the shoreline, acting not only as a breakwater against oncoming waves but also as a makeshift port that simultaneously shielded arriving American troops.

These rediscovered ‘ghost ships’ are a reminder of one of the deadliest battles in WWII, lasting 36 days and resulting in 26,000 US casualties (around 6,800 dead) and approximately 21,000 Japanese deaths.

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