Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Big Blue Tech: East Coast Wrecks

Expeditions are about logistics, equipment, gas, support and diving. Finding the best wrecks and then taking you to them.

Recently described by Bruce Konefe as being “the new technical frontier“, Thailand has numerous world class sites for divers of all standards, making it an underwater adventure paradise. Some wrecks still remain unidentified and all sit just as they sank. Huge freighters, POW ships, drill ships, tankers, munitions carriers and even a US WWII submarine can be counted amongst the historical wrecks littering Thailand, The Andaman and South China Sea’s. All the wrecks listed have been located over the last five years and are truly untouched.

The museum provides a rich glimpse of the archeological riches of Thai waters, but it is probably the Kingdom’s natural treasures that are proving a greater test of diving skills. Thailand has a growing reputation among cave divers due largely to the limestone caves found all along its western coast in the Andaman Sea and mainland thailand.

Uss Lagarto

“American Submarine

During a joint radio co-coordinated attack of a Japanese convoy with the submarine USS-BAYA and USS LAGARTO on the 3rd May 1945, the Japanese escort minelayer HATSUTAKA recorded a depth charge attack on a US submarine in 30 fathoms (55 meters) of water. The BAYA was never able to re-establish radio communications with the LAGARTO and it is assumed that it was this attack that was responsible for her sinking. The ‘unusually alert’ HATSUTAKA crew was so vigilant in defending the convoy that it was also able to successfully drive the USS BAYA off.

Sadly, also visible was the massive damage caused to the port quarter forward of the conning tower. The LAGARTO had plainly sustained a direct hit from a depth charge or other large explosive ordinance. The destruction caused by this device had been sufficient to entirely destroy the external steel plating that contained several large buoyancy compartments and then penetrate much further into the sub to punch a large hole through the 1 inch thick high tensile steel inner pressure bulk head that contained the crew’s living spaces.

The wreck now lies upright at 75m. Penetration i not possible as the wreck is sealed. Recovery is prohibited as this is a war grave.

Technical Liveaboard Available

Discovered By: Mv Trident, 2005

Diver Level: Trimix Diver

Availability: January – October

Frequency: Visited 1-3 Times a year

HTMS Pangan

“Thai Navy Vessel”

Built in Japan in 1927 at 817 tonnes. She was designated Royal Navy Transport. She sank at 10pm on the 19th of July 1961 off the coast of Surrathani near the famous full moon island Koh Pa-ngan.

All 8 officers and 73 Crew were rescued a few hours later by a Japanese freighter. The Pangan had left Bangkok harbor carrying “Damaged Gunpowder” and was planning to dump it at sea. However she ran into very heavy seas, the engine broke, went out of control. Captain Pricha Kucachareon issued an SOS at 10pm and abandoned ship

However judging by the size of the vessel and the typically calm seas of thailand that report is perhaps not entirely accurate. There are signs of fire and explosion damage on the wreck.
Wrecks Details

This majestic wreck found about 60 miles north east of Koh Tao lying on it’s port side at 60m is the wreck we use for our Tech Deep Course.

The best feature of this wreck is it’s great visibility and many points of entry and penetration. It’s 80mm forward gun lying just below the gun placement. The words “Pangan” written clearly on the stern and the unique wildlife including frequent whale sharks scattered around the wreck.

With many penetrations and linking rooms this provides an interesting wreck for both students and experienced technical divers.

At the moment archaeological recovery is underway to retain as much history of the wreck before it sinks entirely or becomes too hazardous to dive.

Day trips and private charter available.

Discovered By: Mv Trident, 2004

Diver Level: Technical Diver

Availability: January – October

Frequency: Visited once a month or more.

Tottori Maru

“Japanese POW Ship”

Built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1913 – 1914. The 6,057 Gross Ton ships were 423ft/ 141m long, 56ft/20m in breadth and capable of speeds of 10 knots.

This vessel was commissioned as a transport vessel supporting the Japanese Battle Group and also a ‘Hell Ship’. A ‘Hell Ship’ was a term used for any enemy vessel transporting allied POW’s, however no POW’s were on board at time of sinking.

The wreck lies on it’s starboard side with the highest point at 57 and 75m to the sand. The bow is only 10m from the end of the wreck but the rest of the wreck is intact.

The location of this wreck is not public however it is roughly 8 hours away from koh tao.

Due to the sheer mass of this wreck it is not possible to swim its length in one dive. Trimix is highly recommended for this dive however its is possible to have a rewarding dive on Air.

Technical Live aboard Available

Discovered By: Mv Trident, 2007

Diver Level: Technical Diver

Availability: January – October

Frequency: Visited every few months


“Unocal Drilling Ship”

The seacrest wreck sank after a typhoon hit her during a drilling exercise. With the drill bit firmly in the seabed it had no chance against the rising seas and rough wind and sank in roughly 70m of water. A recovery operation was carried out and it’s location was kept secret until the Mv Trident re-discovered her in 2007.

The wreck is currently inverted and access is gained through it’s moon pool making this an exiting and challenging dive to navigate.

Technical Live aboard Available

Re-Discovered By: Mv Trident, 2007

Diver Level: Technical Diver

Availability: January – October

Frequency: Visited every few months


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