Recently it was found that the wrecks of two of Dutch cruisers – HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java – had completely disappeared. A large piece of a third Dutch ship, HNLMS Kortenaer, has also vanished. More than 1150 Dutch sailors went down with the ships. The sites were officially declared as war graves and as such not to be touched. The ships sank in 1942 and the wrecks were discovered in 2002.
Shortly after, the British ministry of defence confirmed that HMS Exeter and HMS Encounter had also disappeared, with much of a third vessel – HMS Electra – gone as well. Furthermore a US submarine, the USS Perch, is also missing. This ship sank unmanned and the crew was taken as prisoners.
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The disappearance is probably due to illegal ship looters and scavengers, often disguising as fishermen. The Indonesian government was quick to announce that they refuse to accept any responsibility for the missing ship wrecks. It seemed to have gone unnoticed that thousand of tons of scrap iron and other metals, especially such as the very valuable huge bronze propellors, were probably landed at the port of Surabaya and other ports on the north coast of Java. Fact is that the Indonesian archipelago is huge and hard and costly to patrol.
Meanwhile the matter is being investigated by the concerned parties but that will not bring back the ship wrecks nor the human remains. What remains are the empty hull imprints in the seafloor were once those ships rested.