A ship called the Montevideo Maru sank during World War II while carrying more than 1,000 prisoners of war. It was the largest loss of life at sea in Australia’s history. Recently, the ship was discovered off the northwest coast of the Philippines’ Luzon island in the South China Sea. It was found at a depth of more than 4,000 meters (13,000ft). Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles confirmed this news in a video he posted on Twitter on a Saturday.
“The discovery brought an end to “one of the most tragic chapters in Australia’s maritime history,” he said.
On July 1, 1942, an American submarine torpedoed and sank the ship, which had not been marked as carrying prisoners of war. It was carrying roughly 1,060 prisoners from about 16 nations, including 850 Australian service members, from the former Australian territory of New Guinea to the Japanese-occupied island of Hainan.
“The absence of a location of the Montevideo Maru has represented unfinished business for the families of those who lost their lives,” Marles explained.
The Australian authorities praised the deep-sea survey specialists and members of the Australian armed forces who participated in the search for the Montevideo Maru. They expressed gratitude for providing closure to the families of those who lost their loved ones 81 years ago.
“I want to thank the Silentworld team and the dedicated researchers, including the Unrecovered War Casualties team at Army, who have never given up hope of finding the final resting place of the Montevideo Maru,” Chief of the Australian Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart said.
“A loss like this reaches down through the decades and reminds us all of the human cost of conflict. Lest We Forget,” Stuart added.
“The extraordinary effort behind this discovery speaks for the enduring truth of Australia’s solemn national promise to always remember and honor those who served our country. This is the heart and the spirit of Lest We Forget,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote.
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