Shipwrecks are disappearing, along with the bodies of the sailors onboard. They are being wiped off the map. Asia is pillaging World War II wrecks.
These vessels sunk before the Atomic Bomb, and, as irradiated metal, they’re very valuable. They are probably being salvaged illegally, certainly unethically. These ships are graveyards.
Bodies that were on the ships are gone. The salvagers blow up the ship and take the parts away, body parts go with them.
The law on this is unclear. The UN convention of the Law of the Sea does say that war wrecks are forever the possession of the nation that owned them. However, the definition of a wreck is unclear. Also unclear is what happens if it’s within the territory of a particular nation.
China doesn’t follow the Law of the Sea, although they signed onto the treaty.
The Chuan Hong
A Chinese salvage ship named Chuan Hong, has been caught looting British World War II shipwrecks near the Malaysian coast. There are bodies onboard many of these ships. They are graves.
The looters were picking apart the shipwrecks of the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and cruiser HMS Repulse, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
Imperial Japanese forces destroyed both ships in December 1941, resulting in the loss of 842 British sailors — a significant setback for the Royal Navy in the Far East.
The sites of the shipwrecks are officially designated war graves, according to a statement from the Royal Navy National Museum.
The Chuan Homg was confiscated, but the law is unclear.