TAMUNING, Guam, April 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the scuttling of the SMS Cormoran II in Apra Harbor. Attended by over 40 international media and officials on boats floating above the ship-wreck of the vessel, a commemorative bell was rung at 08:03 a.m. to commemorate its purposeful scuttling on April 7, 1917, followed by the Master of Ceremonies Ray Gibson reading aloud the names of the seven crew who lost their lives on board the vessel. A Peace Memorial Service at the SMS Cormoran II Monument in the Hagatna US Naval Cemetery and Padre Palomo Park followed the morning ceremony.
Th SMS Cormoran II sailed in to Guam's Apra Harbor on December 14, 1914. She was out of coal from being chased throughout the Pacific by Japanese warships. Though the United States was not involved in World War I at the time, the naval governor would not refuel the ship. The Cormoran and her crew remained in Guam for two and a half years, until the day the U.S. officially entered World War I on April 6, 1917.
Now at war with Germany, the Naval Governor (Roy Smith) of Guam ordered the Cormoran's captain to surrender his ship. Rather than do so, Zuckschwerdt decided to scuttle the Cormoran and send her to the bottom of the harbor. He had instructed his crew to disembark, but unfortunately seven sailors were still on board when she sank. All seven perished, though only six bodies were recovered. Their graves are still well marked and surround a monument to the SMS Cormoran II.
The SMS Cormoran II lay in her grave at 110 feet. She lay undisturbed until August 20, 1943, when the Japanese military transport ship Tokai Maru sunk in Apra Harbor after being torpedoed by a U.S. submarine. Amazingly, the Tokai Maru came to rest leaning against the SMS Cormoran II, creating the only place in the world where shipwrecks from two different World Wars touched. The site has become extremely popular with divers, who are attracted by the opportunity to touch two relics from different periods in history at the same time.
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SOURCE GUAM VISITORS BUREAU