Part of Japan's Sen Taka
class--the fastest submarines of World War II--the I-201
could go 22 miles (35 kilometers) an hour underwater.
I-200-class subs could also dive deeper than any other Japanese submarine and stay underwater for up to a month, say archaeologists who rediscovered the I-201 deep off Hawaii in February 2009.
A sleek conning tower, retractable deck guns (pictured extended in a computer image), and retractable diving planes (not pictured), which help pitch the submarine toward the surface or the seafloor, helped streamline the boat for utmost speed.
NOAA's Van Tilburg said the samurai subs now belong to the ocean and that people should protect the relics as they would reefs and wildlife.
"It is a very fitting place for them. It's dark and quiet, it's deep and cold--they can rest there for quite a while."
ON TV Hunt for the Samurai Subs premieres Tuesday, November 17, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel. Preview Samurai Subs >>
Image courtesy Wild Life Productions