FAQ of the Montevideo Maru

With an interest, commitment and passion for uncovering stories of Australia’s past, the Silentworld Foundation, with the support of a large team of experts, has undertaken a search for the wreck site of Montevideo Maru. The 7,267 tonne Japanese-built cargo/passenger ship was being used as prisoner transport in World War II.

The humanitarian expedition aimed to find the final resting place of approximately 1080 military personnel and civilians from 14 nations, most of whom were Australian soldiers. The sinking of the ship 80 years ago resulted in one of the most tragic losses of life in Australian maritime history.

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions which we hope will help

Were individuals from other services present on board the ship at the time of sinking?

Yes – The majority of those lost on the Montevideo Maru were members of the Australian Army. However, individuals from the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force are believed to have been aboard. There were also hundreds of Australian and international civilians, as well as Japanese crews and guards.

Will you inform the families that their missing have been found?

With approximately 1080 victims from 14 nations, and 80 years after the event, tracing next of kin has not been possible.

However, the Silentworld Foundation has provided information of findings through media announcements in Australia and in the countries represented by personnel tragically lost aboard the ship.

We would like to encourage descendant families all over the world who have an interest in this particular wartime loss to get in touch. familiesofMvM@silentworldfoundation.org.au

Please register with the Australian Defence Force to be kept informed of developments.

Register with us | Army.gov.au. Additional enquiries, please call 1800 019 090

Are there plans in place for a commemorative event or ceremony? 

Commemorative events will be coordinated by The Silentworld Foundation.

There are a range of memorials and services to be held around Australia and in PNG to the victims of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru. With the successful find, subsequent commemorative events are to be organised in acknowledgement.

Where and where will this be held? 

Commemorative events are most likely to occur on or near the anniversary of the ship’s loss – July 1.  Details for each event will be made available closer to date.

How do we express interest in attending a commemorative event? 

Register your interest with the Department of Defence to be notified of upcoming events:

Register with us | Army.gov.au


Will the Australian Government pay for descendants to attend? 

Funding is not available to descendants to attend commemorative events.

How do I provide a DNA sample to prove my ancestral connection?

The expedition to locate the resting place of the Montevideo Maru and the people lost on board is non-disturbance. Therefore, there is no requirement to provide your DNA at this time as there is no DNA database of those lost on board.