The military commanders are sending a task force to protect British ships designated as war pits after The Mail on Sunday revealed how pirates loot them.
We explained how at least ten boats have been sacked, providing a final resting place for more than 1,000 sailors from the United Kingdom off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia, in flagrant violation of international law.
China-owned barges equipped with cranes have been carrying out illegal operations and disturbing the human remains buried in the wreckage since the ships were sunk in 1941 and 1942.
But last night, the Secretary of Defense heeded the call of action of the Ministry of Defense to avoid further desecration of the British war tombs.
Battleship of the British Royal Navy HMS Prince of Wales, H 12911, anchoring in an undisclosed naval port ca. 1941
Gavin Williamson confirmed that the ships of the Royal Navy have been ordered to examine the wrecks of warships such as HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse and HMS Banka and report their status.
From now on, the British satellites will also control the sections of the South China Sea where the ships sank and take photographs of anyone trying to extract high-value non-irradiated steel, also known as low-profile steel, from the remains of the shipwreck.
The steel produced before the detonation of the first atomic bombs in the 1940s and 1950s is not contaminated by radiation. It is very requested by the manufacturers of surgical implements and scientific equipment.
Mr. Williamson said: "We will never tolerate anyone going to destroy or desecrate our grave sites on land and we will not tolerate it at sea." Each accident is the final resting place of the brave sailors who fought for freedom and against oppression.
& # 39; If there is any commercial activity around your graves, this dishonors your memory. Therefore, I have ordered this survey to undertake additional investigations. "
Defense sources added that the British Embassy in Indonesia was working with the local maritime authorities in an effort to make the wrecks protect the sites.
The ten ships that were in front of Malaysia and Indonesia were sunk in 1941 and 1942.
Gavin Williamson confirmed that inspection vessels of the Royal Navy have received orders to examine shipwrecks
Some 508 officers and men sank with the HMS Repulse, while another 327 died aboard the HMS Prince of Wales, which sank only a few miles away.
The destruction of the ships, a few days after the Japanese attack on the US base at Pearl Harbor, was a major blow to the British in the Far East as they tried to resist the invasion of Malaya and, ultimately, the occupation of Singapore and Indonesia. .
The battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser HMS Repulse, accompanied by four destroyers from the United Kingdom, were tasked with intercepting the Japanese invasion convoys in the South China Sea in December 1941.
But the boats went to sea without air cover and the fleet was attacked by waves of Japanese planes, with eight torpedoes hitting their targets. Both ships turned as they sank with Repulse now at a depth of 183 feet and Prince of Wales at 223 feet of water.
Gangs of looters have looted approximately half of their 750-foot-long structures, with the remains of fallen heroes dredged with metal.
A heavy cruiser, the HMS Exeter, which sank with the loss of 40 crew in March 1942, has almost disappeared from the seabed.
Last night, the former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord West, praised the Ministry of Defense for convincing the Secretary of Defense to take action.
He said: "I am delighted that we are taking these steps and welcome your newspaper to defend this issue and get such a quick response.
"Now it is imperative that we develop detailed criminal cases against scavengers using all the technology at our disposal.
"We owe it to all those who perished aboard these ships."