A fisherman got a big surprise after discovering that a mysterious orange box pulled from the ocean depths was no mere piece of trash, but surveillance equipment belonging to the United States Navy.
Croatian fisherman Darko Kunac Bigava and his crew pulled the object aboard after it shredded their fishing nets on Jan. 6, according to Forbes.
This box was obviously out of place in the Adriatic Sea, especially since it still had a DHL shipping label that revealed the device’s origins in America.
One thing was clear — the mystery cube had flown out of Louisiana before ending up off the coast of Croatia.
Bigava posted photos to Croatian social media, and speculation about the device raged as the pictures spread far and wide.
Shortly after posting the photos, Bigava received a phone call that put an end to the mystery surrounding his Adriatic discovery.
On the phone was someone from the U.S. Navy, who told Bigava that the world’s largest naval force would like their property back.
After the phone call, Bigava handed the device over to the USNS Bruce C. Heezen, an oceanographic survey ship. In exchange, he was compensated for his destroyed nets and other damaged equipment.
Of course, this took a bit of haggling on Bigava’s part.
It’s unclear whether the Navy has a way to find the devices if discovered by less ethical people or foreign governments.
Judging by posts from the Naval Oceanographic Office, the device appears to be part of an environmental acoustic recording system. The system records acoustic data from its position in the ocean, which is then available for official analysis.
One application is to monitor ambient noise and its effects on local marine life.
A picture of a Navy ship deploying one of these systems can be seen below.
— NAVOCEANO (@NAVOCEANO_SSC) July 18, 2014
Luckily for Bigava, his haul was only a technical instrument.
Had he pulled up a relic from one of Europe’s many wars, like a naval mine or a torpedo, damaged nets would be the least of this fisherman’s concerns.
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