9 News Sydney fails history test

Yesterday on Twitter, Channel 9 News Sydney were promoting a story to air that night on their 6:00 PM news broadcast, with a voiceover by news anchor Peter Overton stating

“At a top secret location in deep water off Sydney, lies the wreck of a Japanese sub…”.


Clearly the story was to be on the M24 Japanese Midget Submarine that participated in attacks on Sydney between 31 May and 8 June 1942. I’ve always been interested in shipwrecks and underwater exploration, so I was looking forward to watching the story that night. I did however feel the need to tweet back to 9 News.

When the story went to air, Peter Overton introduced it by saying

“The last time Japanese sailors were in Australian waters, our two countries were at war.”

This is completely inaccurate. Since the restoration of diplomatic relations between Australia and Japan in 1952 following the Japanese surrendered of World War 2 in 1945, our two countries have become friends and economic partners. According to the website of the Japanese embassy, and the Navy Daily, a news service of the Royal Australian Navy, on 11 September 2014, the Japanese naval vessels JDS Kashima, JDS Setoyuki and the destroyer JDS Asagiri made a port call in Sydney. It wouldn’t surprise me if other visits to Australian ports have been made post-WW2. Perhaps I just wasn’t paying much attention to world affairs in the last 2 years and I missed an entire war? Perhaps not.

Japanese Navy - Sydney Port Visit

Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force Ships JDS Kashima, JDS Setoyuki and JDS Asagiri alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney. Source: Navy Daily, Royal Australian Navy.

The video was later uploaded on the 9 News website under the title ‘First Japanese submarine since World War II returns to Australia‘. It’s an odd title choice as the story has nothing to do with that. There was nothing about any Japanese military submarines or any other vessels visiting Australia, and I’m not aware of any current visits.

Main Article Screenshot

Screenshot of 9 News website

The story opens with 9 News journalist Vicky Jardim (referring to the Royal Australian Navy) stating

“It took some of Australia’s elite men and a high-tech machine to pin-point a war time relic off the coast of Sydney’s beaches.”

Considering the wreck was first stumbled upon in November 2006 with a fish-finder by a group calling themselves the ‘No Frills Divers’, there’s a lot of hyperbole in that opener.

Top Secret?

During the report as the camera pans across nearby headlands and beaches at Bungan Head of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Naval divers and equipment are lowered into the water to descend to the wreck of M24. We come across Vicky Jardim who informs us

“… now the exact location of the submarine has been kept a secret from the public in order to protect the integrity of the site.”

If it was “top secret”, Vicky Jardim would have just blown the secret and given anyone enough information to go out with a fish-finder and locate the submarine themselves.

Secret Location Sweep

Apparently it is so secret that the NSW Government published an M24 location map, with the then NSW Minister for the Environment and Water Resources having declared a protected zone with a 500 meter radius centred at the intersection of the parallel 33° 40′ 21″ South latitude with the meridian 151° 22′ 58″ East longitude (WGS 84 datum). After all, if you are going to create an exclusion zone, you have to tell people where it is.

While the wreck is not at the centre of the zone, its location has essentially been made public. This is hardly a needle in a haystack scenario.


Furthermore, the wreck is also protected by these not so covert bright yellow surveillance buoys.


The story of M24 and WW2 Japanese naval attacks on Sydney is interesting enough without 9 News having to add a layer of bullshit to it.


Please note that the site of the M24 submarine is surrounded by a protected zone that is monitored by an in-water acoustic and camera system on permanently illuminated buoys, supplemented by shore based surveillance systems, and is enforced by the NSW Water Police. Significant penalties are in place for breaching the zone. For further information, please visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.


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