What is it about?
In recent times, the remains of World War II (WWII) warships have been torn apart on the Pacific seafloor and their valuable metal sold for profit. Remnants of American, Australian, British, Dutch and Japanese warships have largely been the victim of ‘metal pirates’.
Photo by NOAA on Unsplash
Why is it important?
The actions of 'metal pirates' are posing a significant threat to the marine environment, particularly given that many WWII wrecks to this day still contain considerable quantities of toxic chemicals, oil and ammunition. In addition, many WWII wrecks are historically significant, such as the USS Indianapolis, sunk in 1945 after delivering components of the atomic bombs to Tinian; while others, such as Australia’s HMAS Perth, serve as war graves to their crew.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: “Ghost Battleships” of the Pacific: Metal Pirates, WWII Heritage, and Environmental Protection, Journal of Maritime Archaeology, December 2018, Springer Science + Business Media,
You can read the full text:
'Metal Pirates' Are Scrapping Parts from Sunken World War II Wrecks
Interview with Joshua Learn. July 2019. Inside Science.
As ‘metal pirates’ loot seabed treasures, there are fears Australia’s first submarine could be next
Interview with Tory Shepherd. October 2021. The Guardian.
International Law of Underwater Cultural Heritage: Understanding the Challenges
Book. Dec. 2022. Springer Press
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