Underwater robotic vehicles (URV) have been employed for mobility, and robot manipulators attached to the underwater vehicle play the role of manipulation. URV motions are determined by inherent dynamic couplings between active and passive joints. Furthermore, the control problem becomes complex since there should be considered many hydrodynamic terms as well as intrinsic model uncertainties. To cope with these difficulties, we propose a disturbance observer-based robust control algorithm for underwater manipulators with passive joints. The proposed control algorithm is able to treat an underactuated system as a pseudo-active system in which passive joints are eliminated. Also, to realize a robust control method, a nonlinear feedback disturbance observer is applied to each active joint. A four-jointed underwater robotic system with one passive joint is considered as an illustrative example. Through simulation, it is shown that the proposed control algorithm has good position tracking performances even in the presence of several external disturbances and model uncertainties.