“Project Jennifer,” the Hughes Glomar Explorer

Scott Rader 2nd Mate

Back in 1968, a Soviet Golf class II submarine sank a few hundred miles North of Hawaii. Unbeknownst to the Soviet’s at the time, the US knew exactly where the sub was thanks to its Pacific underwater acoustics system, which was in place to locate and track ships and submarines of our enemies.

In 1973, Sun Shipbuilding launched the Hughes Glomar Explorer. The Summa Corporation (owned by recluse Howard Hughes) with the offshore expertise of Global Marine Development Inc. got together in this joint venture to “mine manganese nodules off the bottom of the Pacific”, or so the world was told. The actual mission, code named “Project Jennifer” was to recover the submarine and its cryptographic equipment.

The mission was accomplished in total secrecy and many of the details are still a matter of national security. It is assumed that at least half the sub and a few nuclear warheads were recovered. Several bodies were also recovered and given a proper Soviet burial at sea from the deck of the Explorer. A video of this was given to the Russians in 1992. There are a few published books on the project and some information can be found on the World Wide Web.

Fast forward nearly 25 years to 1997 and the ship, then called the Glomar Explorer, is retrofitted by Global Marine to become an ultra deepwater drillship. The GSF Explorer (Global Marine and SantaFe merged in 2001 to become GlobalSantaFe) is designed to operate in water depths around the world of up to 8000 ft. Since then it has worked in the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria and even in the Black Sea drilling oil wells for many of the world’s big oil companies.

The crews of the GSF Explorer and its friendly ghost “Ivan” have been doing weather observations for the VOS and favorite weather lady, Paula Rychtar, for about 2 years now.

Hughes Glomar Explorer

Hughes Glomar Explorer

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