British WW2 graves DESECRATED: Probe as China pirates plunder ships

Ryan Walker FLIA Blog Week of 20th August image

Summary

Chinese metal scavengers have plundered ten British War ships that were sunk during World War 2. These ships are designated as war graves and UK Defense Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has vowed to investigate this claim. Over 1,000 sailors are buried within the wreckage, and the salvaging of the ships has led to their remains being dredged up as well. The claim states that the scavengers are using Chinese-owned barges which are fitted with specialized cranes for scavenging sunken ships.

The UK government has condemned the acts and has vowed to work with both the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to further investigate the atrocities. Under international law, war ships and war graves are protected through Sovereign Immunity. The UK government has stated that the desecration of these warships violates the international law. The Ministry of Defense is working with the Indonesian government to create specialized protection zones around the wrecks to further protect them from future scavengers.

British WW2 graves DESECRATED: Probe as China pirates plunder ships

CHINESE pirates have ransacked ten British ships sunk off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia during World War 2 which are designated as war graves, prompting a furious rebuke from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who has vowed to investigate the matter.

And naval historian and retired Rear Admiral Chris Parry has called for a “robust” response, proposing that in future foreign aid to countries in the area needed to be linked to guarantees to protect such sunken wartime vessels.

The ships contain the bodies of more than 1,000 sailors who died when their vessels were sunk during the conflict in 1941 and 1942.

Ships include HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, with the remains of the war dead dredged up with the metal.

It has emerged that they have been smashed to pieces and plundered by metal scavengers using Chinese-owned barges which are fitted with cranes specifically to carry out the grisly work.

Mr Williamson said: “The UK Government absolutely condemns the unauthorised disturbance of any wreck containing human remains, and always has done.”

Experts have previously said that six British ships had been plundered, but have now added another four to the list, with the number likely to rise further.

Mr Williamson added: “I am very concerned to hear any allegations of incidents of Royal Navy wrecks being plundered in the Far East.

“We will work closely with the Indonesian and Malaysian governments to investigate these claims.”

Mr Parry added: “We need to be robust with the Chinese and also consider linking the protection of these sites with foreign aid to the countries whose coastline it is.”

HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk on the same day in December 1941 by Japanese aircraft off the coast of Malaysia in what Prime Minister Winston Churchill described as his worst shock of the war.

In January Express.co.uk reported that the bodies of British World War 2 sailors were among those which had been dumped in a mass grave near the port of Brooding in east Java by metal scavengers after they plundered Royal Navy destroyer HMS Electra, on which 119 men perished, HMS Exeter, a 175-metre heavy cruiser on which 54 died, and HMS Encounter, which was scuttled to avoid capture by the Japanese.

At the time an MoD spokesman said: “The British Government condemns the unauthorised disturbance of any wreck containing human remains.”

He pointed out that under International Law, warships and associated artefacts are protected through Sovereign Immunity, and that this also provides for protection for war graves.

He added: “Desecration of wrecks of war and merchant vessels causes distress to loved ones of those lost on board and is against international law.

“A military wreck should remain undisturbed and those who lost their lives onboard should be allowed to rest in peace.”

Several sunken Dutch shops, HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java, and HNLMS Kortenaer, have also been robbed, and MP André Bosman, a Dutch MP, told the daily newspaper De Telegraaf: “These publications in Indonesia and now in De Telegraaf raise new questions and a feeling of great indignation.”

The MoD is now working alongside the Indonesian government in an effort to create “special protection zones” around the site where HMS Encounter, Electra and Exeter sank.

However , the pressure is one, with the wrecks of SS Loch Ranza, HMS Tien Kwang, HMS Kuala and HMS Banka, one which roughly 550 servicemen and civilians died, all now being targeted by pirates, having previously been ignored.

Chinese-owned shipping giant Fujian Jiada has been linked with the illegal salvage operations, but has dismissed the allegations as “malicious false gossip”.

A spokesman added: “We are only an export agent company.

“In this case, our businesses about the vessels were finished while the vessels left China.”

 

 

Source: Express (Home of the Daily and Sunday Express), Ciaran Mcgrath, August 19, 2018. Photo credit to Getty Image.