The end of an era and a fascinating story

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From gCaptain:

Drillship Built as CIA Spy Ship to Raise Soviet Sub Falls Victim to Oil Crash
A ship built by the CIA for a secret Cold War mission in 1974 to raise a sunken Soviet sub is heading to the scrap yard, a victim of the slide in oil prices.

Christened the Hughes Glomar Explorer, after billionaire Howard Hughes was brought in on the CIA’s deception, the 619-foot vessel eventually became part of the fleet of ships used by Swiss company Transocean to drill for oil.

A bit of the history:

It’s the end of a story that began when a Soviet G-II sub called the K-129 sank in September 1968 “with all hands, 16,500 feet below the surface of the Pacific”, according to an official U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) history.

And:

According to the CIA history of the mission, called “Project Azorian”, the Soviet Union failed to locate the sub in a massive two-month search, but the United States found it, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) northwest of Hawaii.

The CIA wanted to get its hands on the nuclear missiles, as well as cryptography gear to break Soviet codes, but needed a cover story because any recovery ship would quickly be spotted by its Cold War foe.

The CIA brought billionaire Hughes in on the secret. Under a meticulously crafted fiction, the ship was built for Hughes at Pennsylvania’s Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co, because he needed it to mine sea-bed manganese nodules.

Much more at the site - like I said, a fascinating story. If you are interested in reading more, there was an excellent book published in 2011 called: The CIA's Greatest Covert Operation: Inside the Daring Mission to Recover a Nuclear-Armed Soviet Sub by David H. Sharp

It is available at Amazon

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on September 4, 2015 7:49 PM.

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