Sunken Dutch Battleships Disappear From Java Sea


JANUARY 25, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia's Transportation Ministry said on Wednesday (24/01) the government will take firm actions against the owners of salvage boats that reportedly scavenged the wrecks of three Dutch warships that have lain on the floor of the Java Sea since the second world war.

"We can give them warnings or take away their salvage permit. We can also charge them with criminal offenses if they've violated their permit," the head of the ministry's coast guard, Capt. Jhonny Silalahi, said in a statement.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry arranged a meeting on Tuesday with other ministries, archaeologists, the Dutch cultural heritage agency and the Dutch Navy to discuss cooperation plans between the two countries to conserve war wrecks that still lie in the Java Sea.

"The Indonesian government has responded seriously to the Dutch government’s request to investigate the disappearance of the Dutch warship wrecks," Jhonny said.

In 2016, a team of international divers searching for the wrecks of Dutch, British and American warships discovered that two Dutch ships, the De Ruyter and the Java, had disappeared from the seabed where they used to be. Parts of a third ship, the Kortenaer, had also disappeared.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the disappearance of the sunken battleships is "unacceptable" and expressed his hope that Indonesia will lend a hand to solve the mystery.