The following is a post made yesterday (18/5/15) on a scuba diving message board. Guess its a lot easier for the Malaysians to be harassing divers than going after the real culprits!
Are we the last group to dive the Repulse?
What a trip! 11 of us from Wales, England and Gibraltar set out from Heathrow looking forward to an exciting trip diving the Repulse and Prince of Wales.
Everything was going well, but during the second dive on day 4 of 5 days diving and we get boarded by the Royal Malaysia Navy.
They believe that we are diving illegally in their waters. 4 hours later they decide to tow us by a Frigate to Kuantan naval base in Malaysia. This journey took 10 hours.
Initially they said that the boat and crew were being arrested for operating in Malaysia's exclusive economic zone.
We were not arrested and 8 hours later we were told we could leave but the boat and crew were being detained.
However we had to get immigration stamps which took another 5 hours.
The group of 11 divers then had to get to either Singapore or Kula Lumpur for flights home. Minibuses and hotel accommodation was organised by the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur but we had to cover the cost. The drive to Singapore took 8 hours and KL 4.
Fortunately as it was day 4 of our trip we all got back to our departure points in time to get our booked flights.
The boat, MV Ark, David Yiu and the rest of the crew were released later with no charges have being made.
Throughout the experience the Marines were we very friendly and they even arranged the minibus to take us the immigration offices to get our visas.
The British High Commission in KL provided excellent support. We did learn some lessons from our experience.
• Have your own satellite phone when going on 'expedition ' diving with no mobile phone coverage. They can be hired for as little as £10 a day.
• Have the contact details of the appropriate Embassy/High Commission with you before you travel
Whilst diving there was a lot of evidence of illegal salvaging work on the Repulse. We found a detonator, homemade explosives, metres of detonation wiring and signs of recent explosions.
In fact whilst in the water we believe we heard 2 underwater explosions which might have come from the Prince of Wales.
We never got to dive the Prince of Wales.
David Yiu of the MV Ark does not think he will go back to the Repulse again this year.
Could this be the end of diving on the Repulse and the POW?
If the illegal salvage work carries on then they will be very different wrecks the next time they are dived.