M'sian fishermen spot alleged illegal salvagers returning to the resting place of British WW2 warships

11 months ago 51

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In 2015, there was an outcry after scavengers were discovered targeting the wrecks of World War Two era British warships near Malaysia.

Now it appears that the scavengers have returned, after Malaysian fishermen spotted dredging equipment near the site.

Illegal salvage

According to the New Straits Times, local Malaysian fishermen and boat operators have spotted maritime salvage equipment near the wrecks of two WW2 British warships.

The wrecks of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse, sunk by the Japanese Navy in the opening days of World War 2, are a popular site for divers and fishermen.

Malaysian professional diver Hazz Zain told the New Straits Times that boat operators she had spoken to had shared pictures with her of a grab dredger operating in the area, first spotting it in April 2023.

The pictures were taken by some fishermen who regularly fished near the wrecks, as there were usually a lot of fish.

When they saw the dredger, they approached it, but were warded off by a nearby boat who told them not to enter the site.

Videos and pictures being shared on social media show a barge named Chuan Hong 68 operating at sea, and is alleged to have been the same ship spotted by the fishermen.

The Chuan Hong 68 has been named as the ship responsible for earlier attempts to salvage the ships, as well as several other WW2 wrecks in the region, including Indonesia.

In 2017, a ship named Chuan Hong 68 suspected of illegal activity and allegedly destroying Japanese shipwrecks was detained by the Malaysian authorities.

The Chuan Hong 68 is said to be a China-flagged ship, leading to British media outlets such as tabloid

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