A former head of the Royal Navy has accused Ministry of Defence civil servants of being ‘pathetic’ for ignoring vital information about the looting of sunken war graves in the Far East.
Admiral Lord West, a former First Sea Lord, claims a shipping industry contact was met with ‘platitudes’ by officials who were offered specific details of those suspected of desecrating British warships sunk in the South China Sea during the Second World War.
His source had learned of the widescale plundering of the wrecks off the coast of Malaysia in May 2017 and got in contact with Lord West with details of the ships and the companies pillaging them for scrap metal.
But according to Lord West, the Ministry gave his contact the ‘brush-off’ and never sought more details of the information he had gleaned about who was doing the looting.
Admiral Lord West (pictured left) claims a shipping industry contact was met with ‘platitudes’ by officials who were offered details of those looting British warships
The scale of the looting became public only last month when The Mail on Sunday revealed the industrial pillaging of warships holding the remains of hundreds of Second World War dead by Chinese salvage companies.
They include the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, which was sunk with the loss of 327 men, battlecruiser HMS Repulse, which sank with the loss of 508 lives, and heavy cruiser HMS Exeter, which went down with the loss of 40 crew.
Exeter has all but disappeared from the seabed.
In response, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson demanded action and said: ‘The UK Government absolutely condemns the unauthorised disturbance of any wreck containing human remains and always has done.
‘A military wreck should