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WWII German attack ship located

Shipwrecked German warship DKM Kormoran
The Kormoran was disguised as a Dutch merchant ship

An Australian team searching for a lost World War II cruiser have located the wreck of the German merchant raider that sank it.

HMAS Sydney went down off the west coast of Australia in November 1941 after being attacked by DKM Kormoran.

The Sydney was the largest vessel from any country to have been lost with no survivors during the war.

By finding the Kormoran, the team is "halfway to solving where the Sydney is," project leader Ted Graham said.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said: "We are one step closer as a nation to hopefully finding Sydney."

The Australian government has given A$4m (1.9m; 2.5m euros) to the search team - the Finding Sydney Foundation - to fund their efforts to locate the cruiser.

'Major mystery'

The Sydney was sailing back to Australia from Sumatra on 19 November 1941 when the Kormoran - disguised as a Dutch merchant vessel - launched its attack.

Both ships sank as a result of the battle.

All 645 of those on board the Sydney were lost, but 317 of the Kormoran's 397-strong crew managed to escape by rowing to the Australian coast, where they became prisoners of war.

The loss of the Sydney was described by Australian Navy chief Vice-Adm Russ Shalders as "Australia's major maritime mystery".

The team found the wreck of the Kormoran amid a large field of debris, some of which could be pieces of the Sydney itself.

They will now use a remote-controlled vehicle to search the wreck and look for clues as to the Sydney's whereabouts.


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