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Mission Continues To See If Tanker Torpedoed Off California Coast In World War Two May Be Leaking Oil

Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 6:05pm

Efforts to see if oil may be leaking from a tanker sunk by a Japanese submarine in the opening days of World War Two off the Central Coast are continuing this week.

An unmanned sub is being used to explore the wreckage of the S-S Montebello, which was sunk on December 23rd, 1941 shortly after leaving Avila Beach with three million gallons of crude oil on board.

The ship went down about four miles off the coast of Cambria.  All 38 crew members were able to get off the ship safely, but it sank quickly in about 900 feet of water,

Federal, and state officials are concerned that after nearly 70 years underwater, the rusting ship could start leaking.

However, they say it’s also possible the oil slowly seeped out decades ago, before anyone was monitoring the wreckage.

Officials involved with the ten day long project say they plan to release an update on the mission’s findings later this week.

You can find a complete story on the mission, as well as an interview with the last surviving Montebello crew member, here on the KCLU webpage under “KCLU Featured Local News Stories” for October 12th.

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