This humble fishing trawler led a double life during World War II. In 1941, in Singapore, it evacuated people to Sumatra during the Japanese advance. Renamed MV Krait (after a deadly Indian snake), the boat was fitted out in Australia for Operation Jaywick in 1943. Perfectly disguised as a local fishing vessel, Krait sailed boldly into Japanese-occupied waters with a team of Z Special Unit commandos whose mines blew up and severely damaged seven enemy ships in Singapore harbour.
After the war, Krait worked in the Borneo timber trade, until it was recognised by two Australians on a business trip in 1962. Krait returned to Australia to a hero’s welcome, a testament to Australian sacrifice during war. Krait is on loan from the Australian War Memorial.
The vessel was recently moved to Noakes shipyard on Monday 9th December 2013 for its annual slipping. The work package for this preservation was agreed by the Australian War Memorial and the Australian National Maritime Museum. MV Krait ex-WWII veteran under the care of the ANMM has been slipped for a preservation period of 2 weeks.
The work being undertaken by Noakes and the ANMM Fleet shipwrights include repairing and sanding the underwater side of the vessel, reapplying a new coat of anti-foul, and also replacing certain timber components on the bulwarks. Repairs to the sacrificial anodes and above the water line will ensure the vessel remains in prime working order. All timber removed will be kept and reviewed by the Museum’s curators and the AWM.
A full hull survey of the ship’s sides and underwater structure will be undertaken and sent the AWM on completion of these preservation works.
Phil McKendrick, Manager, Fleet Services