On March 16, 2016, a North Carolina news station, WNCN, released a news story regarding a proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand a marine sanctuary in the Outer Banks to protect sites with shipwrecks from the Battle of the Atlantic.
The news story and the accompanying article by Lex Gray indicated that the local Board of Commissioners of Dare County, North Carolina have reservations about the proposal to expand the marine sanctuary. Some Dare County residents fear that the expanded sanctuary might harm the local, commercial fishing industry.
The NOAA, however, claims that the expansion of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary could increase awareness of World War II history and local connections to the Battle of the Atlantic. The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary currently protects sites related to the maritime history of the Civil War and the actions of the USS Monitor. The proposed boundaries expand the sanctuary to protect Battle of the Atlantic sites. The NOAA has proposed four possible models for expansion.
One of the shipwrecks at the bottom of the Atlantic near Cape Hatteras is the Dixie Arrow, an American oil tanker sunk by German torpedoes in March 1942. The area of the proposed sanctuary also includes the wrecks of the German u-boats U-701, sunk by U.S. Army Air Force bombs in July 1942, and U-352.
For more information on the NOAA proposal and the history of the Battle of the Atlantic near Cape Hatteras, check out the following news story or the NOAA website: