PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) – Navy divers from the U.S. and Indonesia have confirmed that a sunken vessel in the Java Sea is the World War II wreck of the cruiser USS Houston.
The Japanese sank the Houston during the Battle of Sunda Strait on Feb. 28, 1942. The sunken vessel is the final resting place for about 700 sailors and Marines.
U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Harry Harris announced the identification Monday and said divers have documented evidence the watery gravesite has been disturbed.
Assessments conducted in June to determine the condition of the Houston found that hull rivets, a metal plate and unexploded ordnance were removed from the ship. There’s also oil actively seeping from the hull.
Officials are working on measures to keep the site from further disturbance.
Of the original crew of 1,061 men, 368 survived, including 24 of the 74-man USMC detachment, only to be captured by the Japanese and interned in prison camps.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.