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Dutch divers locate the wreck of the O 20

A group of 7 divers, all associated with the IAHD, participated in a dive expedition in June 2002 to look for and identify a Dutch submarine that sank after being attacked by the Japanese on December 19 1941.

Research was done by mr H Besan??on, son of the commander of the Hr.Ms. K XVII, one of the other submarines lost by the Dutch navy during WW2. The expedition leader was Klaas Brouwer, ceo of the IAHD. Dive leader was Michael Lim from Singapore who also is the owner of the chartered vessel Mata Ikan. Three of the participating divers have a physical handicap. Nevertheless they participated in the search, only limited by seasickness.

The team has made photo and video shots of the wreck. In order to identify the wreck the team has removed a ‘deck phone’ from the submarine. The Dutch Navy has positively identified this wreck as the O 20.

The wreck is located approximately 35 miles North-East of Kota Baharu (Malaysia) at a depth of 44 meters.

The Dutch Press Agency ANP released the following message: "….Dutch divers have found the wreckage of the Dutch submarine Her Majesty’s O20 off the East coast of Malaysia. The Dutch submarine was lost during a battle with Japanese submarine hunters. In the fight on December 19, 1941, seven crew members lost their lives. Out of respect for the dead crew members and their relatives, the seamen’s grave will not be disturbed…."

More info on the loss of O 20 here.

Photos of the Dive expedition here.

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.