Posts Tagged ‘merchants’

Scrap merchants held for plundering Royal Navy warships

December 23rd, 2014

“Our department cannot carry out patrols as we do not have the vessels, but I have asked the Coast Guard and the Maritime Enforcement Agency to provide assistance and to patrol the area,” he said.

That intervention appears to have paid off, with the Malaysian warship KD Perkasa responding on Sunday to information provided by the Pahang Fishermen’s Association.

“The foreign fishermen who were diving illegally in the waters about 60 nautical miles from Tanjung Gelang were apprehended at 6.45am,” The Royal Malaysian Navy said in a statement.

“KD Perkasa detained a fishing boat which had been modified into a diving boat and its 17 Vietnamese crew, including some who were still diving at the sea bed, believed to be looting a warship that was sunk during the Second World War,” it said. Of the crew, only the captain had identification papers.

“It is very positive that they have caught people in the act of damaging the ships and detained them,” said Jeremy Whitaker, who has made video recordings of the damage being caused to the two ships.

“It’s interesting that they were in the water that early in the morning as it would have been dark and clearly not safe,” he said. “They obviously want to try to keep their work quiet.

“When we used to arrive at the site during the diving season, from May to October, they would see us coming, saw through their buoy lines and get away in any direction they could go.”

Descending on the wrecks subsequently, Mr Whitaker and the other TechThailand divers would find dynamite stuffed in coffee cans attached to the hull and primed to detonate.

“We once dived on the Prince of Wales and tied our lines to the prop shaft,” Mr Whitaker said. “We went back two weeks later and it was gone. It was lying in the sand with ropes attached and waiting to be lifted.”

Made of phosphorous bronze and an estimated 15 feet long and 14 inches thick, it would have been a valuable recovery for the scrap metal merchants.

“I hope they prosecute these people to the maximum extent, although I doubt it will keep them all away,” Mr Whitaker said.


World War Two

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