Wrecks vanish, war graves gone. Forever

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This is HMSExeter, going down in the Java Sea in 1942, taking at least 54 crew with it. Most of the rest became PoW’s of the Japanese.

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This is the seabed today. What you are looking at is where the wreck of HMS Exeter used to be.

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A Dutch expedition to explore the wrecks of three Dutch Naval vessels discovered that they had 'disappeared'. HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java, and HNLMS Kortenaer were the subjects of a project to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Java Sea, including the death of celebrated Dutch rear admiral Karel Doorman and over 900 Dutch sailors, but when the wrecks were not found, or found to be substantially missing, the expedition was expanded to explore the state of other wrecks in the area.
HMSs Exeter and Encounter were found to be almost totally removed, whilst a substantial section of HMS Electra remains with the rest 'ravaged'. Memorials for the Royal Navy list 386 dead, although this includes those captured but who subsequently died. The remains of US submarine USS Perch were also discovered to have been removed and no longer nearby.

Additionally the wrecks of battleships*HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, officially the grave-site of over 830 men, have been found to have been substantially salvaged for scrap in 2014, whilst the Australian government was accused of remaining silent so as to prevent a diplomatic incident with Indonesia after the discovery in 2013 that HMAS Perth, the resting place of 355 sailors, had been substantially destroyed by a floating crane with salvage claw.
The Dutch submarine O-16 was sunk by a Japanese mine in 1941, with the death of 41 men - one survived. In October 2012 a floating crane was photographed with the shredded remains of the submarine on its deck.

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The Indonesian authorities appear to have little interest in the situation, with a navy spokesman telling the BBC, "to say that the wreckage had gone suddenly, doesn't make sense. It is underwater activities that can take months even years."
The news has been extensively covered in the Dutch press, with some understandable anger at the desecration of the graves. One wonders if the British press - and the public - will be as angry?
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/16/british-second-world-war-ships-illegal-scavenging-java-sea
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-37997640
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-13/outrage-as-warship-grave-stripped-by-salvagers/5156320
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/11187603/Celebrated-British-warships-being-stripped-bare-for-scrap-metal.html
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/27036024/__Raadsel_in_Javazee__.html

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13 years 2 months

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The news has been extensively covered in the Dutch press, with some understandable anger at the desecration of the graves

http://thepipeline.info/blog/2016/05/22/exclusive-named-the-salvage-company-which-looted-jutland-war-graves-as-mod-fails-to-act/

In early 2015 a group made up of UK based maritime archaeologists, working with this website, located a source in the marine salvage industry who was able to supply a set of digital photographs which, the source claimed, showed a vessel belonging to the Dutch based marine salvage company Friendship Offshore BV, based in the northern Dutch port of Terschelling, removing material from the wreck site of HMS Queen Mary in the North Sea.

No different to what the Dutch are doing themselves, these people where ever they are should be in jail, their boats and their profits confiscated, then huge fines imposed on them.

Profile picture for user snafu

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Posts: 2,748

I guess they were not the graves of Dutch hero Doorman and his 900 sailors.