An investigation has launched into the fresh allegations of looting from a number of British Second World War wrecks in Asia. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was "very concerned" to hear claims that remains of four ships lying off the Malaysian and Indonesian coasts have been targeted.
The Mail on Sunday said HMS Tien Kwang, HMS Kuala, HMS Banka and SS Loch Ranza were targeted for their metal. The sunken wrecks are thought to be the final resting place for hundreds of Royal Navy sailors and civilians from WW2.
It comes after six wrecks, including Royal Navy battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, were feared to have been damaged or destroyed by scavengers. Mr Williams said the Government "absolutely condemns" the unauthorised disturbance of any wreck containing human remains.
"I am very concerned to hear any allegations of incidents of Royal Navy wrecks being plundered in the Far East," he said.
HMS Tien Kwang, a submarine chaser, and HMS Kuala, an auxiliary patrol vessel, were carrying hundreds of evacuees when they were attacked by Japanese bombers near the Indonesian Riau Islands on February 1942.