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Found: Australian hospital ship sunk in WW2

An Australian hospital ship which was torpedoed by the Japanese during WW2, taking 268 lives with it, has been found off the coast of Queensland.

The loss of the Centaur in 1943 while sailing to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea was one of Australia’s great wartime disasters. Survivors and their relatives have long pressed for the wreck to be found, fearing salvagers would reach it first.

The government eventually supported a search for the vessel.

On Sunday, it said the wreck’s location had been confirmed by a team led by U.S. marine search expert David Mearns, whose other finds include HMAS Sydney, another Australian wartime wreck.

The sinking of the Centaur was considered a war crime, though no one was ever tried for it. The converted merchant vessel was clearly marked as a hospital ship and had no naval escort, as required by international conventions.

Many of the dead were medical staff.

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