Ammo & Artifacts Removed From Sunken Mekong Warship

Kampong Cham: Operations to search and retrieve ammunition from a warship that sank in the Mekong River in Kampong Cham province during the war of the 1970s are continuing. On January 26, 2021, researchers found a name tag, a helmet and a machete along with more than six tons of ammunition.

Major General Mey Sophea, Commander of the UXO Clearance of the National Center for Mine Action and Mine Action (NPMEC) said, as a result of the special forces’ campaign, ammunition totaling more than 6,000 kilograms was recovered from the warship on the Mekong River between Srey Santhor and Kang Meas districts sometime during 1970-1975.

The commander said that there were 81 mm, 60 mm mortars and 12 machine guns. A name tag of a Marine, written in French ‘CHHIM-CHHEANG-LY Marine Nationale Khmere’, a helmet and Army knife, presumably belonging to a Lon Nol-era soldier was also recovered, but no bones were found.

EDIT: A few days later a femur bone was pulled up, presumably from the soldier.

Mr. Sophea added: “This operation has been searching for the above munitions… (from) two sunken ships buried under the sand about 5 meters deep, with a river depth of 20 to 30 meters in a circle of about 150.”

“We have been working since the end of 2020, but at that time we faced a lot of weather (problems), strong winds and waves,” he said. “After the wind calmed down, the force team launched a strong attack. We have not yet been able to determine when the warships will be brought ashore. Having encountered obstacles, many wastes such as tree stumps, bamboo stumps, old nets were covering the ship”.

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