The US Navy has confirmed that a wreck found on the bottom of the Java Sea is USS Houston, a cruiser sunk by the Japanese in World War II. Nicknamed ‘the Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast’, the American ship was sunk by Japanese forces during the Battle of Sunda Strait on 28 February 1942.

US and Indonesian divers have confirmed that there has been some looting of the wreckage, which has become an underwater dive attraction, and officials of both countries are now co-ordinating protection and conservation efforts.

All 1,068 sailors and marines on board the cruiser were presumed dead after the sinking, but when the war ended in 1945, 291 sailors and marines who survived the action were found in Japanese prisoner of war camps and were repatriated to the US.

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