Secrets of Centaur's sinking likely lost to the deep
- On 22/12/2009
- In World War Wrecks
By Andrew Fraser - The Australian
One of the greatest puzzles surrounding the torpedoing of the AHS Centaur in 1943 is likely to remain unsolved as the inside of the ship now 2km underwater is unlikely to be filmed.
One of the great suspicions about the torpedoing of the ship is that the Japanese had received intelligence that the Centaur, which flew the flag of a hospital ship, was actually carrying armaments to troops in Papua New Guinea.
Waterside workers loading the ship in Sydney before it left for PNG were surprised to find that ambulance drivers of the 2/12th regiment, who arrived at the dock, were carrying a supply of rifles and ammunition.
Veterans Affairs records show that under the Geneva conventions it was possible to carry some weapons for personal protection, and 52 rifles and 2000 rounds of ammunition were loaded onto the ship.
Only 64 of the 332 people on board the ship survived after it was torpedoed in 1943. After several false starts the ship was finally found on Sunday by shipwreck hunter David Mearns 48km due east of the southern tip of Moreton Island at a depth of 2059m.