The USS Chehalis, a Patapsco class gasoline tanker, commissioned on December 5, 1944, caught fire and sank in 1949 with more than 400 gallons of petroleum cargo and thousands of rounds of artillery shells on board. The vessel is lying in approximately 150 feet of water about 350 feet off the Fuel Dock at the main port facilities of Pago Pago, American Samoa. The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency conducted an environmental impact study led by CH2M Hill. The Port of Pago Pago not only provides virtually all economic viability for the Territory, but also plays an important role in fisheries and recreational activities for surrounding villages.
AUS divers conducted an external inspection and provided: video images of the orientation; altitude and condition of the vessel; a qualitative description of the character of the sea floor; provided water and debris field samples; identified locations, size and number of gun turrets and guns; and identified impediments and entanglement hazards in potential future salvage operations.