Three WWII Shipwrecks Mysteriously Disappear, Growing Fear Wrecks Were Illegally Salvaged

By  //  November 17, 2016

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approaching 75th anniversary of the battle

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In 2002, divers stumbled upon the wrecks of three Dutch warships that took 900 crew members to their watery graves during World War II’s Battle of the Java Sea. (HNLMS De Ruyter by Wikimedia)

(FOX NEWS) – In 2002, divers stumbled upon the wrecks of three Dutch warships that took 900 crew members to their watery graves during World War II’s Battle of the Java Sea.

Finding them again has so far proved, well, impossible. Divers hoping to examine the wrecks ahead of the 75th anniversary of the 1942 battle found imprints of the wrecks off Indonesia using sonar, but the wrecks themselves have mysteriously vanished—one in part and two in whole, reports the Guardian.

“The wrecks of HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java have seemingly gone completely missing. A large piece is also missing of HNLMS Kortenaer,” says the Dutch defense ministry, which has launched an investigation and fears the wrecks were illegally salvaged.

As more than 100 ships and submarines from World War II rest in neighboring waters, the area is known to attract salvage companies in search of steel, aluminum, and brass.

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