- USS Samuel B. Roberts
- 6865 metre(s)
- Philippines ()
The deepest shipwreck found to date is the USS Samuel B. Roberts ("DE-413") located at 6,865 metres (22,523 feet) off Samar Island in the Philippine Sea. The World War II destroyer escort was rediscovered by explorer and retired US Navy officer Victor Vescovo (USA) and French sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet on 22 June 2022 during a series of exploratory dives in the DSV Limiting Factor.
Vescovo's Caladan Oceanic Expeditions and Eyos Expeditions used cutting-edge sonar technology never before employed at such extreme depths to help pinpoint the location of the Sammy B. Initial reports cited a depth of 6,895 m (22,621 ft) but further analysis and calibration of the data reduced this slightly to 6,865 m. Its exact coordinates have been kept secret to respect its status as a war grave (of the 224 crew members, 89 are estimated to have died when it sank).
The Samuel B Roberts was sunk during a clash between US and Japanese forces known as the Battle off Samar, part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf. Due to a series of miscommunications and errors, a small group of secondary support vessels (of which Samuel B. Roberts was one) found themselves as the only thing standing between a fleet of defenceless American troopships and a force of 23 Japanese battleships and cruisers. Samuel B. Roberts was sunk while making an audacious attack on the Japanese heavy cruiser Chikuma, a ship more than 10 times her size. During the battle Samuel B. Roberts's crew fired almost all their ammunition and torpedoes, crippling Chikuma before being sunk by fire from the largest battleship ever built, the Yamato. Although Samuel B. Roberts's task force was almost completely wiped out, their heroics convinced the Japanese commanders that they were facing a larger force than they really were, causing them to retreat and averting disaster.
A John C. Butler-class destroyer escort, it was the first of three ships to be named in honour of Coxswain Samuel Booker Roberts, Jr., who was mortally injured after valiantly steering his boat into enemy fire during a rescue mission in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.
The previous year, Vescovo used his deep-sea submersible to locate the wreck of the US Fletcher-class destroyer USS Johnston ("DD-557") in the same region; it was also sunk during the Battle off Samar. Working with maritime historian Parks Stephenson (USA; US Navy, Ret.) and submersible engineer Shane Eigler (Canada), during two dives conducted on 29–30 March 2021, they established the deepest part of the USS Johnston, an aft portion, lay at 6,468.6 m (21,222 ft), the record at that time.