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World War II Shipwrecks Are Disappearing

February 13, 2017

Late in 2016, the Netherlands Defence Ministry confirmed that two of its ships lost in World War II had disappeared from the bottom of the Java Sea, likely the result of illegal scavenging. Recently, a trio of Japanese shipwrecks off Borneo have also been torn apart for scrap, putting a spotlight on a growing problem.

According to The Guardian, scuba divers reported a large Chinese vessel, known as a "grab dredger," that used a crane to pull up the shredded remains of the Japanese wrecks, which were likely torn apart from explosions or other equipment. These looters are on the lookout for valuable metals, including steel, aluminum and brass. Propellers, made of phosphor bronze, are among the most valuable objects, getting more than $2,500 a ton. Full investigations are being launched in both cases.

SOURCE: The Guardian

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