MICROSOFT co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen and his research team have found a massive Japanese Second World War battleship off the Philippines near where it sank more than 70 years ago, his representatives said.
The apparent discovery of the wreckage of the Musashi, one of the largest battleships in history, comes as the world prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.
Mr Allen and the team aboard his superyacht, the Octopus, found the ship on Sunday, more than eight years after their search began, his agent said in a statement.
The Musashi, commissioned in 1942, sank in October 1944 in the Sibuyan Sea in the Philippines during the battle of Leyte – the largest naval battle of the Second World War – with the loss of half of its 2,400 crew.
Mr Allen’s team found the battleship just off the Sibuyan Sea, using an autonomous underwater vehicle, in its third dive after narrowing down the search area using detailed undersea topographical data and other locator devices, the statement said.
Detailed images captured by a high-definition camera mounted on the underwater probe confirmed the wreckage as that of the Musashi, it said.
Japanese experts said they were keen to study the images to try to confirm the ship’s identity.
Mr Allen said: “The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction.”
He said he is fascinated with Second World War history, inspired by his father’s service in the US army.