For BAREG members:

BAREG’s 2019 archaeological survey will be conducted 20-27 July and we will survey the wreck of the SS Byron D. Benson, a 465’ tanker sunk on 5 April 1942 by then-Kapitanleutnant Erich Topp, commanding U-552. (see: https://monitor.noaa.gov/shipwrecks/benson.html) The Benson survey will be BAREG’s second expedition to a victim of KptLt Topp’s eighth war patrol and this project meets the requirements of Objective Two, BAREG’s U-552 Implementation Plan.

As with all of our previous surveys, BAREG will work in cooperation with NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. We plan to charter Eastern Carolina University’s dive boat the R/V Cutting Edge and we will operate out of Oregon Inlet with a base house in South Nags Head.

The Benson survey takes us north of Cape Hatteras for the first time. The dive site is about 26 nm NE of Oregon Inlet and conditions there will differ from our three previous projects (Dixie Arrow, F.W. Abrams, & British Splendour) just south of Cape Hatteras and the two projects (Ashkabad and Caribsea) even further south off Cape Lookout. We will be diving in colder green water and at 105 fsw Benson will be our deepest project to date.

Members interested in taking part in the 2019 Benson survey should review the BAREG Diving Standard Operating Procedure (DSOP) v2.1, dated 9 December 2018, specifically Section Six, Expedition Diving. We draw your attention to the new requirement regarding tank sizes: a minimum of a single 100 cuft tank or double 80s. At the risk of stating the obvious, at 105 feet it’s essential that working divers have enough gas to accomplish their tasks and safely return to the boat.

We will open the house and meet Cutting Edge on Saturday, 20 July and our six dive days will be 21 July through 26 July. Weather and time permitting, we may run out to the wreck on the 20th to put the mooring(s) on station and, if possible, install the baseline(s). Cutting Edge has room for 12 divers and we’re starting to build the dive roster now. To secure your spot on this project we request a $200.00 deposit by Wednesday, 30 January. When you send in your deposit it would be helpful if you’d let us know the dates you plan to participate in the project.

We’ll take deposit payments by check or via our Paypal account (contact us for details).

We’ll have more details/dive/work plans later on the project, and we’ll be available to discuss the project at our symposium on 10 February.

We look forward to working with many of you on the Benson survey.

Fred Engle
Deputy Ops Coordinator
BAREG

Sam Abbe

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