The Ashkhabad was a 5,181 grt (gross registered tons) Soviet tanker built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1917. Originally christened War Hostage, the vessel underwent three changes in ownership before being purchased by the Soviet Commercial Fleet (Sovtorgflot) in 1934.

In late April 1942, Ashkhabad was en route from New York to Matanzas, Cuba in ballast when it was struck by a single torpedo fired from Tube II of the German submarine U-402. Ashkhabad’s stern sank in 4 minutes in shallow water (55 fsw), but the bow remained above the surface for several days before being sunk as a hazard to navigation by US and British warships.

In partnership with NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, BAREG conducted an archaeological survey of the Ashkhabad May 25 – June 1, 2013.

Ashkabad site map