Skip to navigationSkip to content
DEEP DIVE

The Japanese submarine that never made it to Pearl Harbor

Hannah Yi
By Hannah Yi

Video Journalist

Seventy-five years ago, US naval ships and aircraft spotted a mini-submarine just outside the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The USS Ward fired shots at the sub, and it sank to the ocean floor. Some 90 minutes later, the Japanese launched their historic attack on the naval base. Turns out, the submarine was part of that attack; it just never achieved its mission.

On Dec. 7, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commemorated the attack on Pearl Harbor by taking a deep dive to the sunken wreckage, launching a remotely operated vehicle to record footage that was then livestreamed to the public for the first time.

The submarine sits just five miles outside the entrance of Pearl Harbor. Over the years, vibrant marine life has taken root on the sub’s surface, while many parts of the vessel still remain in tact (like the torpedoes). Watch our video and explore this historic submarine.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.