Common History, Shared Values: Preservation of Maritime War History

On October 29 in Jakarta, the United States and Australia organized a conference with over 50 attendees from Indonesia, the US, Australia, the UK, Japan, and the Netherlands to discuss the wrecks of naval vessels lost in Indonesian waters during combat operations in World War II. Concentrating on coordinating joint efforts to protect the war graves that are these wrecks, conference participants credited the Indonesian government for their support for these efforts, and discussed ways to preserve the wrecks from illegal salvage operations.  Senior conference attendees included the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Charge d’Affaires from the U.S. Embassy, retired head of the Indonesian Navy, advisors to various Ministries and senior representatives of the business and diving communities.  Challenges identified included the lack of specific legislation to protect sites where wrecks are located, human resource limitations for patrol/enforcement, and on-going non-sanctioned salvage operations. Moving forward, conference organizers and involved parties pledged to work with the Indonesian National Committee on Shipwrecks to help preserve this common history in accordance with the shared values of all involved.