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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ship "Florence D" sunk by Japanese on 19 Feb 1942 located off Bathurst Island

The wreck of of the 2600-tonne cargo vessel "Florence D" sunk by Japanese fighter-bombers has been found off Bathurst Island after 66 years.

It was apparently carrying 500,000 anti-aircraft rounds at the time. Its bow was severely damaged in the Japanese attack on Darwin on 19 February 1942. Four men died as a result of the Japanese attack oʠn the "Florence D".

Thirty survivors sailed to Bathurst Island in a lifeboat and camped on the beach for three days until they were rescued.

The wreck of the "Florence D" is apparently lying on its starboard side in about 10 metres of water near Bathurst Island.

Fisherman Wayne Keeping had found the ship by accident on his depth sounder in 2006. He tried twice to dive on the wreck in the following two years. Numerous jellyfish and strong tides forced him back on both occasions.

Former Northern Territory Chief Minister Marshall Perron put diver Jim Miles in touch with fisherman Wayne Keeping and within weeks, they had located and dived on the wreck.