April 22, 2023 | 1:47 p.m
The Montevideo Maru was torpedoed off the coast of the Philippines on July 1, 1942 by an American submarine whose crew did not realize the ship was carrying 1,080 lives.
Australian War Memorial via AP
A Japanese merchant ship sunk during World War II carrying more than 1,000 Allied prisoners of war has been found, officials announced Saturday.
The Montevideo Maru was torpedoed off the coast of the Philippines on July 1, 1942 by an American submarine whose crew did not realize the ship was carrying prisoners of war.
It was Australia’s largest naval battle loss with a total of 1,080 lives lost.
A 12-day search team on the island of Luzon in the South China Sea found the wreck 13,120 feet below sea level — deeper than the Titanic — using sonar built into an autonomous underwater vehicle.
“The extraordinary effort behind this discovery speaks to the enduring truth of Australia’s national promise to always remember and honor those who have served our country,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.
Out of respect for the families of the dead, no attempt will be made to remove human remains and artefacts, the Sydney-based Silentworld Foundation said in a statement on Saturday.
The team worked with Dutch deep-sea exploration specialists Fugro and Australia’s Department of Defense.
The Montevideo Maru carried prisoners and civilians captured after the fall of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.
Among those killed were 1,080 people from 14 countries, including 979 Australians.
With post wires.