Part of the South Pacific Ocean. It is located between Queensland, Australia, on the west and Vanuatu and New Caledonia on the east, and bordered on the north by Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Occupying an area of 1,849,800 sq mi (4,791,000 sq km), it merges with the Tasman Sea and Solomon Sea and is connected to the Arafura Sea via the Torres Strait. It was named for its many coral formations, including the Great Barrier Reef. During World War II it was the scene of a strategic U.S. naval and air victory over the Japanese (1942).