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The shipwreck of the SS Montevideo Maru has been found off the coast of the Philippines

Researchers have found the wreck of the SS Montevideo Maru, a ship that Australians consider the largest maritime tragedy in the history of their country. Nearly 81 years after the sinking, researchers have successfully found the wreck of the Japanese ship SS Montevideo Maru. On July 1, 1942, off the coast of the Philippines, the
Published: April 22, 2023 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 02:03
The shipwreck of the SS Montevideo Maru has been found off the coast of the Philippines

Researchers have found the wreck of the SS Montevideo Maru, a ship that Australians consider the largest maritime tragedy in the history of their country.

Nearly 81 years after the sinking, researchers have successfully found the wreck of the Japanese ship SS Montevideo Maru. On July 1, 1942, off the coast of the Philippines, the transport vessel was sunk by the US. On its deck at the time were 1,060 prisoners. Among the casualties were 850 service members and 210 civilians from 14 countries.

SS Montevideo Maru reck
First image of SS Montevideo Maru reck Photo: Silentworld Foundation

The ship was sunk by the crew of the American submarine USS Sturgeon, who obviously did not realize that there were Allied prisoners on board.

The number and identity of those on board at the time of the sinking was not fully revealed until after the war ended. However, the exact location of the shipwreck remained a mystery until now.

The expedition team found the SS Montevideo Maru in the South China Sea after 12 days of searching. However, the entire search leading to finding the wreck took years and was the effort of many people from different countries. In the end, the wreck was located at a depth of more than 4,000 meters, inaccessible to divers.

Sonar scan of Montevideo Maru wreck
Sonar scan of Montevideo Maru wreck Photo: Silentworld Foundation

The researchers do not plan to excavate any artifacts or human remains from the wreck. Instead, they want to focus on conducting a careful examination and documentation of the wreck.

At long last, the resting place of the lost souls of the Montevideo Maru has been found. We hope today’s news brings a measure of comfort to loved ones who have kept a long vigil. The extraordinary effort behind this discovery speaks for the enduring truth of Australia’s solemn national promise to always remember and honour those who served our country. This is the heart and the spirit of Lest We Forget said Anthony Albanese, Australia prime minister.

The search for the Japanese vessel, which took more than a thousand lives to the depths, was led by the Silentworld Foundation and deep-sea exploration specialists from Fugro and supported by Australia’s Department of Defense.

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About author

Stefan Panis
Stefan started diving at the age of 6 through his father. In 1992 he did his first “official” course in the Nelos dive club “Amphora”. Since then he moved on to doing courses like nitrox and trimix, and he started diving an Inspiration rebreather in 2009 and Started photographing in 2013.
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