Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, has donated his 414 foot super-yacht “Octopus”, the 13th largest mega-yacht in existence, to the British Navy and will also be funding the research and recovery expedition for the HMS Hood, a British battle cruiser which was lost during fighting in the Second World War
The Octopus’ expedition has two goals: to retrieve the ship’s bell, and document the remains as one would in an archaeological expedition in an attempt to find out exactly what happened before the ship went down under the waves.
The battleship’s remains were first discovered by Blue Water Recoveries over 11 years ago. Because the battleship is under the Protection of the Military Remains Act, nobody has been allowed to disturb the remains of the HMS Hood. Special permission was granted to the recovery team by the British Navy to recover the bell. The bell’s recovery is seen by some as a fitting way to commemorate the loss of loved ones during the WWII battle; over 1,400 lives were lost after the ship had been hit by the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic in 1941. The HMS Hood’s destruction resulted in the largest death toll suffered by a single battleship in Britain’s long naval history.
David Mearns, director of Blue Water Recoveries and leader of the expedition which will take place soon, spoke of the Octopus, calling it a “fantastically capable vessel”. Due to Allen’s funding of the entire project, the British government will be spared the cost.