Ex-Unipart Automotive CEO Mark Dixon has been part of a diving expedition that has discovered the wreck of the USS Jacob Jones.
Dixon was Leader of the Wreck Exploration Team for the UK’s Darkstar. He also skippered the diving boat that located the wreck on August 11.
In footage shot by diver Dom Robinson, the destroyer’s bell, Yarrow boilers, torpedo tubes and propeller shaft are clearly visible. As the wreck is a war grave, no items were retrieved, earning the Darkstar team praise from the U.S Naval History and Heritage Command.
Located in a position some 65 kms from the Scilly Isles, the wreck lay 115 meters below the surface where divers got the first pictures of the Tucker-class vessel since it was sunk by a U-Boat in WW1, becoming the first U.S destroyer to be lost to enemy fire. Out of of a crew of 110 men, 64 lost their lives.
Speaking to us about three basic rules for managing a diving team, Dixon said: “The first thing you have to have is the best team you can possibly get”.
“That applies whatever you are trying to do. In this case, we had no shortage of applications from people that wanted to come and dive with us, but you have to be clear about getting the right people, because things go wrong very quickly”.
“The second thing is be prepared to change your plan,” he added, pointing out that the first location he and the team thought the ship would be in contained the wreck of a completely different ship. “If something’s not working, don’t keep doing it!”
“Thirdly, you’ve got to enjoy it. I’ve seen divers who get like ‘oh I hope I get out of the water at the end of this’. When that starts, do something else!”
Following Unipart Automotive’s demise Dixon joined Sukpal Singh Ahluwalia’s aborted APX motor factor project before joining bearing manufacturer Rubix.