First U.S. vessel sunk in WWII found
Ocean researchers from Deakin University announced Wednesday that they have discovered the wreck of the first U.S. vessel sunk during World War II off Cape Otway along Australia's southern coast.
The cargo vessel, MS City of Rayville, was transporting a load of lead, wool and copper, from Australia to New York when it struck a German mine and sank on Nov. 8, 1941. One sailor was killed and 38 others were rescued. The United States officially entered the war on Dec. 8, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Associated Press said that at the time the Rayville was operated by International Mercantile Co. in New York, and under charter to the U.S. Maritime Commission.
The mines were reportedly planted in the area by the German raider Passat, a Norwegian tanker captured in the Indian Ocean and converted to an auxiliary minelayer.