Following up a tip-off in October 2011 by a local fisherman who had spotted a wreck, an Australian-Singaporean team of amateur scuba divers discovered the Dutch World War II submarine in the waters north of the island of Borneo.
Marine experts studied the photographs taken by the divers and observed unmistakable features unique to Dutch submarines. This information, in combination with other records, enabled the submarine to be identified as the K XVI.
This brings to an end a long period of uncertainty for the relatives of the crew members. The commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice Admiral Matthieu Borsboom, conveyed the news to them.
HNLMS K XVI was part of the Allied fleet tasked with stopping the Japanese invasion of the then Netherlands East Indies.
The 1,000 ton submarine sunk the Japanese submarine hunter Sagiri on Christmas Eve 1941, only to be sunk itself the following day by Japanese submarine hunter I-66 in the South China Sea.
With the discovery of HNLMS K XVI, the only Dutch submarine still unlocated is HNLMS O 13. This submarine went down in the North Sea. HNLMS K XVI will be designated as a war grave.