USS O-2 as she was originally named ,was put in service for US Navy 19.October 1918 under Joseph Austins commando in Coco Solo. She patrolled around the Panama canal until she was laid up in July 1924 in Philadelphia. In 1931 she was deleted from the US Navy lists and bought for the symbolic amount of one dollar and transferred to US Shipping Board. She was rebuilt for use in Wilkins-Ellsworth upcoming Arctic expedition and renamed Nautilus after a grandeur ceremony at the harbor in New York where also the grand-children of Jules Verne participated. Nautilus sat course for Norway and Bergen. Sir Hubert Wilkins believed that a submarine could be a good platform for scientific surveys in polar areas. He had participated on several other expeditions over the ice, and now wanted to get under the ice and map the polar sea. Nautilus left Bergen 5. August and sailed to Svalbard where they re-supplied, and then sat course towards the ice. 19 August they made contact with the polar edge and the following weeks they were struck by misfortune. Numerous attempts to get under the ice failed, had to be abandoned. To avoid the whole expedition to be a complete failure they sailed along the edge and made surveys. After their surveys they headed back to Bergen, but Wilkins didn't want to bring the submarine back to USA and applied for a permit to scuttle her. 20.November 1931 Nautilus disappeared in the deep between Askøy and Helleneset. The wreck was located in 1985 on a depth of 350 meter, and in 1999 the wreck was filmed by a ROV. Also see the "other" Nautilus in Leicestershire.

Former names:
USS O-2 175,0 x 16,6 x ? f
Tons: Built: Home Port:
91 grt Bridgeport ( USA ) 1918 Stavanger ( N )

Picture: Nautilus
Originally from
Courtesy of Norsk Polar Institutt

Last updated: August 2017