With 1080 casualties, the 1942 torpedoing of a Japanese ship off the Philippine Islands carrying Allied POWs was Australia’s biggest maritime war loss. The wreck of the Japanese ship was found by a group of explorers.
Credit: Sky News Australia/YouTube
After a 12-day search, the wreck of the ship named Montevideo Maru was located off the island of Luzon in the southern China Sea using an autonomous underwater vehicle with built-in sonar at a depth of over 4,000 metres (13,120 feet), which is deeper than the Titanic.
The Silentworld Foundation, a non-profit organisation located in Sydney that specialises in marine history and archaeology, said no attempt will be made to retrieve any artefacts, or human remains out of respect for the families of the departed.
She took part in the trip alongside the Dutch deep-sea survey specialists Fugro and the Australian Department of Defence.
Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia, said: “The extraordinary effort behind this discovery speaks to the enduring truth of Australia’s solemn national pledge to always remember and honour those who have served our country.” This perfectly encapsulates Lest We Forget.
The Montevideo Maru evacuated civilians and prisoners after their capture in Papua New Guinea following the fall of Rabaul. Despite not being designated as a prisoner of war transport, the American submarine Sturgeon pursued the ship on the night of July 1, 1942. It launched four torpedoes that found their target and sunk the ship in less than 10 minutes.
There were 1080 fatalities, with 979 Australians among the 14 other nations. “Families waited years for news of their missing loved ones before learning of the horrific outcome of the sinking,” stated Silentworld director John Mullen.
Some individuals have never truly come to terms with the truth that their loved ones were victims. By finding the vessel, we hope to bring some relief to the numerous families who were today’s horrible disaster victims.
Reference: Hindustan Times, India Today