Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. (Phoenix) announced it's role in the successful identification of the Australian Hospital Ship (AHS), Centaur in 2,059 meters of seawater (msw) 30 miles east of the southern tip of Moreton Island, Queensland, Australia. AHS Centaur has laid on the seafloor for 66 years after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943. Of the 332 souls onboard, only 64 survived.
Phoenix was contracted by the Queensland government to support the attempt to locate and verify the resting place of AHS Centaur. The Phoenix team, directed by David Mearns of Bluewater Recoveries, used its 6000 msw capable Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Remora III, to dive on the prime sonar targets collected by Williamson & Associates of Seattle, Washington. On 10 January, Remora provided positive visual confirmation that Centaur had been found. The 7-day search phase was conducted from 14-20 December and yielded a number of targets to be investigated, but only one target fit all search parameters. In early January, Phoenix's Remora and operating crew were mobilized in Brisbane onboard the MV Seahorse Spirit, a 72 m long ship used for both the search and verification phases of the operation. On 9 January, the ROV completed a commissioning dive over the wreck of the Kyogle in 180 msw before proceeding to the area thought to be the site of AHS Centaur. The following day, 10 January, Remora dived on the primary target and quickly verified that it was the AHS Centaur.
Remora proceeded to take extensive high definition video images of the ship, its damaged section, and the debris field using a Remote Ocean Systems (San Diego, California) Inspector HD camera. On 12 January, Remora placed a commemorative plaque on the bow of Centaur as a memorial to those who perished. The wreck has been classified as a war grave by the Australian government, consequently, nothing was to be touched or removed from the vessel.