Is there any update on any salvage efforts on the S.S. Corregidor?
I am unaware of anything recent. I haven't heard much from Snake lately. The last thing I heard was that 'Snake' dived the wreck some time back, and found the water quality too poor to get any meaningful bottom time. I can't recall if he said it was on his most recent dive that he felt the blast effects of dynamite fishermen who manage to evade all efforts by the Coast Guard. For a long while the Coast Guard on Corregidor never even had a boat, and of course the dynamite fisherman had plenty of boats and dynamite too, so you know where the decks are stacked. Search our forum for posts by Snake. Let me put it this way, if someone was wanting to salvage the wreck, I would imagine they would prefer to keep quiet about it, because they would be thieves of the lowest order. - EXO
There hasn't been any salvage attempts on the wreck that I know of, it's just badly deteriorated and is unrecognizable as a ship when you're diving on it. This is mostly due to the poor visibility and that it's buried in silt up to the gunwales. We haven't dived it since May last year when we aborted the dive due to lack of viz.
These illegal salvagers are removing WWII shipwrecks in their entirety from the South China Sea, Malaysia and Indonesia, I heard recently from a diver that the USS Houston has completely disappeared. HMS Prince Of Wales and Repulse are also being systematically removed along with many others. One can only hope that the SS Corregidor will be spared this fate. The people that are involved in this, including government officials, have no conscience at all and are only driven by the almighty dollar.
We side scanned two wrecks off the north coast of Corregidor last month and I'll post some information about them on the LCM-3 thread soon.
I don't see much of the technical aspects for this below recreational level wreck. I see mixed gas bottles and staging/bailout rigs too. Bottom time is under 20 minutes at this depth (180 to 200 feet?), helium effects in the muffled vocals can be heard. Can you add the audio if recorded to the video for us SCUBA geeks? I imagine WTF??? was exclaimed on at least one occasion!
Last week, a foreign salvage barge, the Laut Lestari (Malay for Sustainable Seas)..., sailed into the middle of the Philippines and destroyed one of the best tourist dive sites in the country. It was also a grave site. Supposedly not one government, local or coast guard official knew anything about it!
The 97 meter passenger ferry MV Dona Marilyn, owned by the notorious Sulpicio Lines Shipping Company, sank during Typhoon Ruby (Unsong) to the north of Malapascua Island on the 24th of October 1988 while on route from Manila to Tacloban with the loss of 389 lives.
It was a lovely wreck with resident sting rays, schools of fish and beautiful black coral gardens, lying intact on her starboard side at 24 meters depth, it was ideal for the recreational diver/photographer and a memorial to the people that died on her.
Malapascua doesn't have many dive sites, the main attraction here are the thresher sharks which are only seen in the early mornings, so the impact of this terrible act will be felt hard.
Steps are being taken by Congressmen, the DOT, the local Mayor and the resort owners and managers of Malapascua to address the situation but it's too late, even if the ship has not been completely removed, this popular dive site and marine life sanctuary has been ruined forever.
If the owners of the salvage company and the local officials who allowed this to happen are not held accountable, then every shipwreck in the country will be under threat!
With shipwrecks being destroyed and the dynamite fishing, the future of the underwater world in this country looks bleak indeed.
Footnote: Sulpicio Lines Inc., now Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation (PSACC), holds the world record for the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history, when the grossly overloaded MV Dona Paz sank after a collision with the small tanker MT Vector on the 20th of December 1987, just 10 months earlier, with the loss of around 4,380 lives and only 24 survivors. The company also holds the world record for the highest peacetime death toll of any shipping line of all times, killing more than 5,300 people.
The company has never been held liable by the Philippine courts for any of its disasters, of which there are many.
Zo035 Lt. Comdr. John D. Bulkeley receives the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Copied from the above publication.
5. SS "CORREGIDOR"
On the night of December 17 there was a large explosion in Sisiman Cove. Looking out across the entrance to Manila Bay, the men of Squadron 3 could see many flashing lights on the water. Lieutenant Bulkeley immediately got PT's 32, 34, and 35 underway. At the edge of the minefield at the entrance of the bay they found the water thick with oil and dotted with survivors of the SS Corregidor, a Filipino ship carrying evacuees from Manila to Australia. Leaving the harbor on a faulty course, the Corregidor had struck a mine and gone down almost immediately.
The PT crews rigged ladders and lines over the side, and worked until they were exhausted hauling the wet and oily passengers aboard. Not until they put the survivors ashore at Corregidor and aboard the SS Si-Kiang at Mariveles were they able to count them. When they did, they could scarcely believe the total. The three boats had picked up 296 passengers, of whom all but 7 survived. PT 32, a 77-foot boat designed to carry 2 officers and 9 men, had taken aboard, in addition to its own crew, 196 passengers from the Corregidor.
In the past okla and I had a little discussion about the SS Corregidor and Bunker's role in the sinking.
I will repost this account that corroborates the text you posted that Bunker was aware of the ship coming toward Corregidor and refusing to deactivate the mines.
- - - - -
This article (from another US officer’s diary who also served on Corregidor) says that Col. Bunker knew it was a civilian ship that departed from Manila and he refused to order the mines be de-activated. Irregardless of the actions of the SS Corregidor’s captain, this disaster could have been prevented by Bunker.
Text of the SS Corregidor sinking from “Captain George Steiger: A POW Diary”
“The Army and the Filipino skippers had long been butting heads. All the channels out of Manila Bay had been mined for many months. At this time, the mining was strictly up to date and operational. At 1 AM on 16 December, the SS Corregidor, carrying 760 refugees, attempted to go thru the mine field without asking clearance. This request would have been granted. The Lieutenant who was on watch in the mine casement, on sighting the SS Corregidor called his superior, who in turn, called the seaward defense commander, Col. Bunker, requesting information as to whether he should de-activate the contact mines in the channel. With a lifetime of experience with the Filipino, going back to the '98 Insurrection, Col. Bunker said "No!" My first knowledge of this affair came when my duty watch called me at 12:55 AM. The Corregidor had struck one of our mines and in the four or five minutes it took to reach my battery command post, the vessel had sunk. Approximately 500 lives were lost. The 260 or so who survived came on the Rock. Thereafter, we had no trouble with unauthorized Filipino boats attempting to traverse the channel”.
- - - - -
Too bad we cannot read Col. Bunker's diary that predates the one used for the book. It would help to understand the reasons for his actions that night.
Chad, many of the comments in the diary surprise me too.
Artem: I use to work in that shipyard. Heard of D. Cleland through my uncles who were previous generations that worked there. Saw a photo or two of D.Cleland in the shipyard library. If my memory is correct I saw his grave out in the city's protestant cemetery.
May 11, 2020 8:24:25 GMT 8
faulkvi2: Hi! My name is Vickie. I am here to learn more about the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and to honor the life of my Uncle, Pvt Eugene Mott, who has not been returned to us after his death on the Oryoku Maru.
Jun 20, 2020 10:59:59 GMT 8