Indonesia is investigating the mystery of the disappearance from the bottom of the Java sea six Dutch and British ships during the Second world war
Indonesian authorities have agreed to help in the investigation of the disappearance from the bottom of the Java sea six Dutch and British ships flooded in one of the most disastrous for the allies of world war II and presumably dismantled for scrap.
“I would like to thank Indonesia for their willingness to cooperate after we got the news about sunken ships. We will work together to figure out what happened, and to coordinate their actions in the future”, – quotes The Guardian the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, made after his meeting with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo on Wednesday, November 23.
The foreign Ministry of Indonesia confirmed the willingness of Jakarta to participate in an international project, adding that technical questions about the organization of the investigation will be resolved in the near future.
In February and March 1942 in the Java sea there were two major battles involving the naval forces of the Netherlands, the UK, Australia and the USA who were trying to defend Java from Japanese attack. By the end of February 1942, the Japanese occupied the Northern part of the Malay archipelago, and was preparing to occupy the capital of the Dutch East Indies – modern Indonesia. At that time, the allies had a serious shortage of aircraft. In the number of aircraft the Japanese outnumbered the enemy more than 10 times. In late February, the American aircraft “Langley” with 40 fighters were sunk, that doomed many an allied fleet to defeat.
The squadron of the allies under the command of rear Admiral Doorman included five cruisers, nine destroyers and two heavy cruisers. The Japanese had two heavy and two light cruisers, 14 destroyers, and 40 transports. At the end of the battle the Japanese army had lost four transport, Laden with troops, and allies – two cruisers, five destroyers and 2,300 people, among whom was the commander of Doorman.
In the second battle, which occurred a few days later was sunk, one heavy cruiser and two destroyers of the allies, the Japanese side was damaged one destroyer. Freely the Japanese completed the conquest of the Dutch East Indies. In 1945, after the liberation, was proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Indonesia.
In 2002, by Amateur divers found the remains of three Dutch warships. However, the international expedition in November of 2016 went to the Java sea to shoot for the upcoming 75th anniversary of the battle, found that the wreckage of the ships disappeared.
As reported by The Guardian, the scan revealed the presence of craters on the sea bottom, where lay the ships. It has been suggested that the ships became a victim of hunters for scrap. Later it turned out that disappeared three British ship and an American submarine.
The UK Ministry of defence contacted the Indonesian authorities to Express “serious concern” and ask to initiate an investigation. “Many lives have been interrupted during this battle, and we expect that the remains of ships and sailors will be respected, they will be left alone and not to be touched without the Express consent of the United Kingdom,” – said in a statement.
In turn, the defense of the Netherlands announced the beginning of its investigation. “The desecration of war graves is a serious crime,” – said in Amsterdam.
It is worth noting, hundreds of ships and submarines during the Second world war, buried on the bottom of the sea near Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, have long attracted hunters for scrap and trophies. For example, propellers lost ships are valued on the black market is 2.5 thousands dollars per ton, while one screw can weigh up to ten tons. As a rule, looters used explosives to separate parts of the ships from each other. Thus, in accordance with international law, sunken warships remain the property of the States under whose flag they sailed.
Last year, the Malaysian military is caught Vietnamese hunters for rare metals, which acted in the place of the shipwreck, their ship was equipped with cutting torches and cranes. In 2014, off the coast of Malaysia was foiled an attempt to loot the remains of British ships.
However, wrote “the Newspaper.Ru”, not all experts agree that the missing ships were dismantled, because this time we are talking about the graves that are at a depth of 70 meters.
“They are almost impossible to raise, there in too deep”, – transfers the edition statement Paul Kool, a Dutch specialist in lifting sunken ships.
“To say that the wreckage suddenly disappeared. This submarine activity, which can take months or even years”, – agrees the representative of the Indonesian Navy Colonel Giga Chipasula.
However, alternative versions of the disappearance of the ships from the seabed yet.