The wreckage of the World War II Japanese ship Montevideo Maru has been discovered. More than a thousand people died in this disaster

The wreckage of the Japanese merchant ship Montevideo Maru has been found in the South China Sea near the Philippines. More than 1,000 prisoners of war and civilian prisoners, including 864 Australians, died aboard in 1942, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles said on Saturday.

The search for the wreck was carried out at a depth of more than four thousand meters by experts in the field of deep sea research, including underwater archaeologists. This work was supported by the Australian Ministry of Defence. The remains of the ship were found northwest of the Philippine island of Luzon, Marles said, quoted by Reuters.

The search was organized by Silent World, an Australian foundation for marine archaeology, with help from Fugro, a Dutch company specializing in deep-sea research.

Wreck of Montevideo Maru discoveredReuters

Worst maritime disaster in Australian history

The unmarked Montevideo Maru, en route from New Guinea to the Chinese island of Hainan, is mistakenly torpedoed by an American submarine in July 1942. The Montevideo Maru sinking is considered Australia’s worst maritime disaster.

– Thus ends one of the saddest chapters in the maritime history of our country. By identifying the wreckage, we did something we had to do for the families of the victims of this disaster – stressed the Australian Deputy Prime Minister.

Wreck of Montevideo Maru discoveredReuters

“It is a grave to be treated with respect”

About 1,060 POWs, including military and civilians, died in the disaster, according to the SilentWorld Foundation. At least 850 Australian soldiers and 210 civilians from 14 countries were on board when the ship sank. The youngest passenger is 15 and the oldest is 60.

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It is now a war cemetery. “It’s a grave that should be treated with respect,” Captain Roger Turner, who was on a mission to search the wreckage, told the BBC. To examine the wreck, scientists attached cameras to what are known as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), which allowed them to take a closer look at the ship.

“I was touched when I saw the pictures of the ship,” Turner said.

The Silentworld Foundation reported that the ruins were not damaged and no artifacts or corpses were removed from them.

The Montevideo Maru was four thousand meters deep, deeper than the famous Titanic (3780 meters), the BBC notes.

Main photo source: Reuters

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