"In 1911 the Navy Department ordered a second board of inquiry after Congress voted funds for the removal of the wreck of Maine from Havana Harbor. U.S. Army engineers built a cofferdam around the sunken battleship, thus exposing it, and giving naval investigators an opportunity to examine and photograph the wreckage in detail. Finding the bottom hull plates in the area of the reserve six-inch magazine bent inward and back, the 1911 board concluded that a mine had detonated under the magazine, causing the explosion that destroyed the ship.
Technical experts at the time of both investigations disagreed with the findings, believing that spontaneous combustion of coal in the bunker adjacent to the reserve six-inch magazine was the most likely cause of the explosion on board the ship. In 1976, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover published his book, How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed. The admiral became interested in the disaster and wondered if the application of modern scientific knowledge could determine the cause. He called on two experts on explosions and their effects on ship hulls. Using documentation gathered from the two official inquiries, as well as information on the construction and ammunition of Maine, the experts concluded that the damage caused to the ship was inconsistent with the external explosion of a mine. The most likely cause, they speculated, was spontaneous combustion of coal in the bunker next to the magazine.
Some historians have disputed the findings in Rickover's book, maintaining that failure to detect spontaneous combustion in the coal bunker was highly unlikely. Yet evidence of a mine remains thin and such theories are based primarily on conjecture. Despite the best efforts of experts and historians in investigating this complex and technical subject, a definitive explanation for the destruction of Maine remains elusive.
By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy
Posted 17 minutes ago
South Korea's defence minister says a North Korean torpedo attack is the most likely cause of the sinking of one of his country's warships, which left at least 40 sailors dead.
Pyongyang has denied it was behind the sinking of the corvette, which sank after being torn in half by a massive blast last month.
Until now, South Korean officials have been reluctant to point the finger of blame north of the border.
But South Korean defence minister Kim Tae-Young says a large torpedo is the most likely cause of the sinking.
Military officials in Seoul have reportedly already told the president a 200 kilogram torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine was the cause of the explosion.
Why are we there again? Someone remind me?
Because if America leaves evil will triumph good. Because the two nations have cemented their respective futures together deeply. Because if like me you happen to know people of Korean heritage you would never, ever let them down. And yes I would place my life at grave risk for the Koreans I am fortunate to know; Korean nationals, not just expats, hold my housekey with permission to just drop in when they are in town. Very few other ethnicities and nationalities would I trust this way. 0.02
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