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Author Topic: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear  (Read 2835 times)

Colin Bishop

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Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« on: November 16, 2016, 05:11:56 PM »

This also caught my eye today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-37997640

It appears that two of the Dutch cruiser wrecks from the Battle of the Java Sea have vanished in the last few years and a destroyer partially removed. There are of course several other major warships down there including Exeter, Perth and Houston and they may also be subject to plundering despite their war grave status. There are Prince of Wales and Repulse although these are visited annually by RN divers I believe.

Edit, just seen this has already been mentioned in the In the News topic

Colin
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ballastanksian

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 05:47:12 PM »

It saddens me just as much to see the stuff they raise from the Titanic to flog off. All that crockery etc to make a quick buck.

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thunderchild

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Brian60

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 05:23:32 PM »

The BBC report says all of these ships were war graves. If that is correct why hasn't the Indonesian government done more to protect them> Its inconceivable that salvage on such a large scale could go unnoticed - how in God's name do 6 complete warships just dissapear?

Colin Bishop

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 05:35:07 PM »

I doubt if the Indonesian Government give a toss. It wasn't their war but a war between competing colonial powers. The locals just had to suffer the results. They have limited naval resources and no doubt other priorities. It is an out of the way part of the world and piece by piece salvage by small craft won't necessarily attract much attention.

And, let's be honest, just how many people in the UK today are even aware of the Battle of the Java Sea?

I don't condone what has been done but I am not really surprised.

Colin
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NFMike

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2016, 05:58:40 PM »

To be fair even graves in the ground in the UK get recycled over time. These are a long way from home, as Colin says, and our nation has largely forgotten them by now.
Also like Colin I don't condone it, but it's understandable that it's happening. Unless we are prepared to pay for some sort of police force to guard such places there's really not a lot we can do.

As a thought on the side, in these times when cremation and scattering are probably the commonest post-life solution (for British people) are graves really still so important to us?

Colin Bishop

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2016, 06:19:55 PM »

Most of the 'war graves' relate to the 20th Century world wars, earlier wrecks are not commemorated in the same way but viewed more as archaeological sites. Once a couple of generations have passed there is little or no direct living memory connection for them to retain their role as a focus of veneration.

If you 'buy' a burial plot in a municipal cemetery you actually only have a 70 year lease on it as the assumption is that after that time there will be nobody still alive who remembers you.

So your greatest gift to posterity may in fact be your lovingly crafted model boat - as long as you don't make it out of plasticard!
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warspite

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 10:26:25 PM »

Is the steel sold for rare earth magnets as its untainted with radioactive isotopes for later detonations, I heard in some program, vessels north of Ireland were valuable due to the untainted property.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2016, 10:35:12 PM »

I believe that the armour plate makes good shielding for delicate instrumentation.

Colin
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dodes

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 08:06:29 PM »

Hi Warspite, the armoured steel you are thinking of is the old High Seas fleet scuttled in Scapa Flow in 1918, it is used for medical instruments because it has not been exposed to radiation in the atmosphere, as all steel above the surface after the nuclear bombs of 1946 and since are contaminated with radiation. But speaking of illegal wreck clearance the props of the Repulse and Prince of Wales were removed with out any permission several years ago.
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Arrow5

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 11:10:16 AM »

Press and Journal Aberdeen, Wednesday 30 Nov,2016. Front page headlines with photo, "Divers fined 18,000 for looting wrecks"  They were taking parts from the Imperial German navy fleet which was scuttled at Scapa Flow. The offense took place in 2012, items such as bells and  phones were stolen by the pair, one from Glasgow and one American.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Java Sea Shipwrecks disappear
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2016, 07:25:26 PM »

This also caught my eye today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-37997640

It appears that two of the Dutch cruiser wrecks from the Battle of the Java Sea have vanished in the last few years and a destroyer partially removed. There are of course several other major warships down there including Exeter, Perth and Houston and they may also be subject to plundering despite their war grave status. There are Prince of Wales and Repulse although these are visited annually by RN divers I believe.

Edit, just seen this has already been mentioned in the In the News topic


Colincolin, the question arises...just what do you define as the Java Sea? Anywhere East of the Malaysian Peninsular is broadly considered to be one of the China Seas. The wrecks of the Dutch and Australian ships may well be in Indonesian areas....but Repulse etc certainly are not anywhere near "Java" . Or are we looking at the Chinese ? Satellite imaging must exist somewhere given the scale of Chinese expansion in thrpe S.China sea. BY?

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