Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Is a Chinese Vessel Raiding Pacific Graves? WWII Grave Robbers on the Loose in SE Asian Waters; Chinese Barge Suspected of Looting World War II Shipwrecks: "Desecration" of War Graves

Photo: Andrew Matthews/Zuma Press
Is a Chinese Vessel Raiding Pacific Graves?
Naval grave-robbing shows no respect for the allied World War II dead.
Press reports late last week said a Chinese vessel is attempting to collect steel off British Royal Navy ships sunk in the Pacific Ocean in World War II. This apparent violation of war graves is a gruesome Memorial Day reminder that international rules and order are not the natural state of affairs but the product of Western military enforcement.
U.S. Naval Institute News reported Thursday that “an illegal Chinese salvage operation is raiding two United Kingdom World War II warship wrecks off the coast of Malaysia.” The battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse were sunk by the Japanese three days after Pearl Harbor, and more than 840 men were lost. “In all the war, I never received a more direct shock,” Prime Minister Winston Churchill recalled in his memoirs.
The report says a Chinese vessel, Chuan Hong 68, was “dredging with a deep-reach crane for the ‘high-quality steel’ used to build the two warships,” which could be smelted for other uses. The National Museum of the Royal Navy was concerned enough to put out a statement that it is “distressed” at “the apparent vandalism for personal profit of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse.”
Pilfering Pacific graves is a sordid business and the Chinese Communist Party may deny the story. But Beijing controls even such ostensibly private ships as fishing fleets, and it’s increasingly treating the Pacific as its private pond. Reuters said Monday that Malaysian authorities detained a Chinese-registered ship that had anchored without permission and found World War II cannon shells aboard. The question is what the U.S. and the Brits will do beyond denunciations that have so far failed to shame Beijing into responsible behavior. --->READ MORE HERE
Picture: Australian National Maritime Museum / Facebook / Screengrab
WWII grave robbers on the loose in SE Asian waters:
The recent death of the sole survivor of the World War II sinking of the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait has brought home renewed attention to hundreds of wartime shipwrecks and the remains of their crewmen lying at the bottom of Southeast Asian seas.
After years of effort, it was only in 2018 that the Australian and Indonesian governments reached agreement on declaring the area around the 7,100-ton Perth and the nearby wreck of the American cruiser USS Houston as a maritime memorial park.
It was nearly too late. Australian Maritime Museum archeologists found that, between 2015 and 2016, about 60% of the Perth’s starboard hull plating was removed in an industrial-scale operation that disturbed the graves of the 357 Australian sailors in the process.
Salvage vessels have reportedly looted as many as 40 other wrecks, the last resting place for thousands of American, British, Australian, Dutch and Japanese sailors in the Java and South China seas and around the fringes of the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Only last month, the Chinese grab dredger Chuan Hoon 68 was reported picking over the wrecks of the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, sunk by Japanese bombers off Malaysia’s east coast in December 1941 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Royal Navy Museum director-general Dominic Tweddle said in a May 24 statement that the illegal salvage operation has thrown into sharp relief how vulnerable 5,000 similar historic underwater naval sites around the world are to wholesale plundering. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below ro relevant/related stories:

+++++Chinese barge suspected of looting World War II shipwrecks: "Desecration" of war graves+++++

U.K. Royal Navy ‘Distressed and Concerned’ by Illegal Chinese Salvage of WWII Wrecks

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