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Malaysia Seizes Chinese Vessel Alleged To Have Robbed Two British WWII Shipwrecks

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A Chinese-registered warship that is suspected of robbing two British World War Two shipwrecks has been detained by Malaysia. The bulk carrier was impounded for unlawfully docking at the location in the South China Sea on Sunday.

Later, ammunition was discovered on board that was thought to be from the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, which were sunk by Japanese forces over 80 years back. The UK Ministry of Defence had previously denounced the suspected raid as a “desecration” of maritime war graves.

Scavengers hunt for the rare low-background steel, commonly referred to as “pre-war steel,” in old shipwrecks. Such steel is a rare and precious material for use in scientific and medical equipment due to its low radiation level.

These British ships, on the ocean floor for around 100 kilometres (60 miles) off the east coast of Malaysia, had long been a target.

In order to strengthen the defence of Malaya, Royal Navy battleships were sent to Singapore during the conflict. On December 10, 1941, Japanese torpedoes sank them.

About 842 sailors were killed in the attack, which took place just three days after the US fleet in Pearl Harbour was attacked. It is regarded as one of the worst naval disasters in British history.

The foreign vessel was originally brought to Malaysian authorities’ attention by fishermen and divers last month.

The Chinese ship was impounded by local maritime police on Sunday. The vessel had 32 crew members and was registered in Fuzhou, according to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said that the vessel is associated with a stock of unused arms, which belonged to the two British shipwrecks. The police captured the unused arms from a private dumpyard in Johor early in May.

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