If you’re an experienced technical diver with dreams of diving World War II ships sunk during the 1942 Battle of the Java Sea south of Borneo, you probably won’t find much now.
Illegal salvagers have pretty much taken just about every piece of metal from the 10,500-ton Royal Navy heavy cruiser HMS Exeter, the American submarine USS Perch, as well as a pair of Dutch warships. The Exeter had come to her final resting place 60 meters/197 feet below the surface.
According to news reports, the salvagers allegedly posed as fishermen and used explosives to gather the metal. The wreck sites were first discovered in 2002, but a survey conducted
earlier this year in advance of the battle’s 75th anniversary revealed the ships’ disappearance.
An Indonesian Navy spokesman told Agence France Press:
“The Indonesian navy cannot monitor all areas all the time. If they ask why the ships are missing, I’m going to ask them back, why didn’t they guard the ships?”