Sunken Ships Stolen and Sold for Scrap
Three Dutch ships, the HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java and HNLMS Kortenaer, have been reported missing from their watery grave in the Java Sea. The World War II warships, sunk in a battle with the Japanese, were declared war graves in 2002 after being discovered by amateur divers. More recently, however, the Dutch government has confirmed that the remains of the ships are now missing.
Since raising and salvaging the sunken ships would be a huge and noticeable undertaking, it is now suspected that Indonesian locals have mined the wrecks piecemeal for years, resulting in their slow disappearance.
According to Bas Wiebe, commercial manager of salvage company Resolve's Asia operations, "If time is not of the essence, you have a barge and equipment, you could just nibble away."
The Indonesian Navy is currently conducting an official investigation into the missing ships.