WWII Wreck of the POW Transport SS Montevideo Maru Discovered

By S. E. Flynn, The Chicago Times

April 22, 2023

SOUTH CHINA SEA – The wreck of the Second World War Japanese transport ship, the SS Montevideo Maru, was discovered by deep-sea explorers in April.  The Montevideo Maru was torpedoed off the Philippine coast in 1942 killing nearly 1,000 ANZAC prisoners of war.

Australian War Museum

The maritime archaeology group, Silentworld Foundation, made the announcement of the discovery Saturday, coming just a short few days before ANZAC Day celebration set for April 25.  According to a press release, the location of the Montevideo Maru has been a mystery for the past 80 years.  On July 1, 1942, the Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by the United State’s Salmon-class submarine USS Sturgeon (SS-187).  At the time, the crew of the Sturgeon was unaware that the Montevideo Maru was transporting POWs and civilians.  According to the ship’s manifest some 850 Australian service members along with 210 civilians were lost. 

According to the Silentworld Foundation, the search started on April 6 in the South China Sea nearly 69 miles northwest of Luzon.  On April 18, the search party made a confirmed sighting of the wrecked Montevideo Maru using state-of-the-art technology, including an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with in-built sonar.