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China to Explore Japanese Ship Wreckage During WWII

A Hong Kong underwater search team has decided to explore the wreckage of a Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) vessel torpedoed and sunk in the East China Sea during World War II.


The non-governmental team, with several popular Hong Kong TV series and movie stars as members, was sponsored by the Hong Kong Underwater Association Limited (HKUA) and will try the water for the ship wreckage on Thursday. The team arrived at Zhoushan on Wednesday.


"We aim to accurately locate the ship, get details of the vessel and screen the wreckage," said Curly F.T. Wong, a diving instructor of the team.


Named Lisbon Maru and armed fore and aft, the ship was a large cargo vessel with more than 1,800 British POWs on board. It was torpedoed by an American submarine and sank in the seawaters near the Dongji Islands of Zhoushan, a city in east China's Zhejiang Province, on October 2, 1942.


Nearly 200 Chinese fishermen living on the Dongji Islands rescued 384 British prisoners during the shipwreck.


This is not the first time for the team to come to Zhoushan, as it has planned to try the water for Lisbon Maru twice in the last three months. The first trial was made in June but failed due to bad weather and inadequate equipment. The second was delayed by the savage typhoon Matsa.


Jackie Lui Chung-yin, a noted Hong Kong TV series star and head of the team, said: "I'm a fan of diving and have had rich experience in exploring sunk boats in Malaysia, the Philippines and the Chinese mainland, but this is the first time that I would probe into a boat with so many tales to tell."


(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2005)


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