First results of Dutch-Indonesian investigation in the Java Sea

The joint Dutch-Indonesian investigation into the disappearance of three Dutch naval ships from the floor of the Java Sea has released its initial results (see: Report of the Dutch Shipwrecks in the Java Sea). Experts from the two countries have analysed the available data and concluded that the diving team of the Karel Doorman Foundation conducted their search in the right area and can confirm that salvage operations of some kind have indeed occurred.

In their report the investigators state that the two countries will need to further investigate the area where the wrecks were located in order to gather additional information. In a Memorandum of Understanding the Netherlands and Indonesia have agreed to work together more closely, including by sharing available information and expertise for the protection of maritime culture heritage.

These follow-up activities are in keeping with the agreement that Prime Minister Mark Rutte concluded with Indonesia during his visit to the country at the end of 2016. At the time, it was agreed that once it had been established that the vessels were no longer there, the countries would work together to determine what had happened and to preserve their maritime heritage in the future. The manner in which the verification operation took place, in good cooperation with the Indonesia authorities, gives the Netherlands confidence in the future of the investigation.

In 2016, an international diving team from the Karel Doorman Foundation discovered that the shipwrecks, which were considered war graves, had disappeared.