USS Tang

Those of you who have an interest in WWII, and in particular the Pacific theater, certainly recognize the name of this submarine. Does anyone know if there were any post-war efforts to locate it and/or recover it? It would seem that sitting in only 180’ of water would make it possible.

It may be that China doesn’t want anyone in that close to their waters. The lat/long is given as 25°06´N, 119°31´E, which puts it damn close to China.

http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?132362

As far as “recovery” goes, I think sunken WW2 ships are generally considered “war graves”. There are no salvage rights on warships, and they are still considered property of the national government that operated them at the time of their loss. (Bismark belongs to Germany, even though the Nazi government no longer exists. Soviet ships belong to Russia, etc.)

http://www.submarinebooks.com/News.htm < saw that while googling “tang wreck site”. No Tang, but others are mentioned.

Given that it is resting deep inside Chinese territorial waters, I think any salvage operation is not going to be allowed.

Speaking as an amateur diver with some interest in wrecks, even though it happens to be in Chinese waters, there’s nothing saying that the Chinese wouldn’t raise it.

On the other hand, firstly there’s no reason to. There’s nothing worthwhile to recover on her, and vintage submarines from that era can already be found on dry land aplenty.

Secondly, after 70 years at the bottom she very likely badly rusted. Her back may be broken from the torpedo hit and from striking the bottom, which means that lifting her could cause he to fall apart. Simply a very difficult operation with no reward.

She is on the other hand well within technical diving depths, and if found could be dived on.

Note that the restriction on diving on war graves only applies to citizens of that country. Even though British Subjects are prohibited from diving the HMS Prince of Wales, I know of divers visiting her.

If this was indirectly addressing my post (#2), I was only speaking to “salvage”. Sport divers can dive on the wrecks, but can they take souvenirs? I thought they couldn’t. Nor could a firm out of Japan, say, go over to the Tang and try to raise the wreck for the scrap metal.

As an official governmental act, China could probably do it (as the Tang rests within two miles of her shoreline), and I doubt that the U.S. would do more than make noise about it if it happened, but I am not sure about that.

Turned to orange powder, even. :wink:

Based upon what I see, there was a lot of effort, by various parties, to locate the USS Wahoo. As both the Wahoo and the Tang were arguably the most notable subs, I find it odd that I can’t find any records of a search, especially as it was sunk in relatively shallow water. W/regard to Chinese territorial waters, the Tang was sunk appox 10 miles off the Chinese coast. Wouldn’t this international waters?

It’s a difficult question, and will usually depend on who has the biggest ships and is willing to make noise about it. Inside territorial waters, countries will usually respect salvage rights of other nations or foreign companies to their respective ships, because doing so is normally mutually beneficial, except when doing so isn’t.
In international waters, salvage rights usually go to the finders of the wreck if the original owners aren’t around to claim them anymore (otherwise the ship still belongs to its owner, even if it happens to be sitting on the sea bottom).

To give some examples, any shallow wrecks of ships in Norwegian waters were (much to modern wreck divers’ chagrin) salvaged right after the war for scrap metal, bodies or no bodies. Germany wasn’t in much of a position to complain at the time, nor were they probably of any inclination to, nor would the Norwegians have given a damn.

In 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration found a wreck dating back an unknown number of centuries in international waters and recovered $500 million worth of salvage from it. Odyssey claim the treasure by salvage rights, while Spain claims that the ship was Spanish and that the entire trove belongs to the Spanish state. Before being dismissed in court, Peru also laid claim to the treasure, because it was minted there. That case is still ongoing.

In Sweden (where I live and dive), ships younger than 100 years belong to their owners or whomever has bought the salvage rights from them, while older ships than that belong to the state as they are considered to have historic value and shouldn’t be salvaged at all. The wreck of the MS Estonia lies in international waters. By treaty, several countries forbid dives on her, which is enforced by the Finnish navy. Naturally this doesn’t apply to citizens from non-signing countries, bit it’s a case where the boat with the biggest guns makes the rules.

Yeah, there was a brief series on Discovery called Treasure Quest that was about the crew of the Odyssey group, and several of the episodes were about the Black Swan treasure and the attempts by the Spanish government to seize the treasure. I have to say that, on the show at least, the Spanish didn’t come out looking very good (they actually came off as thugs looking for the main chance and willing to use their sovereign powers like a club to get what they wanted).

-XT