Koh Tao, Thailand
Big Blue Tech observed the Thai navy sink one of their own ships today on Koh Tao to provide an artificial reef and wreck diving resource just off the shore from our resort.
The HTMS Sattakut was origionally owned by the US Navy. During World War II USS LCI(L)(G)(M)-739 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the assualt and occupation of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945.
Plans to dive the new wreck are already underway with undoubtedly hundreds of divers just waiting for the conservation society to finish counting the sea stars and let us have at it. We’re expecting a chance to dive it within the week.
The ships unique bow design allowed troops to assault beaches in the security and shelter of it’s forward guns and Armour. This gives the wreck an unusual appearance.
Displacement 246 t.(light), 264 t. (landing), 419 t.(loaded)
Length 158′ 5½”
Beam 23′ 3″
Draft Light 3′ 1½” mean, Landing, 2′ 8″ forward, 4′ 10″ aft, Loaded, 5′ 4″ forward, 5′ 11″ aft
Speed 16 kts (max.), 14 kts maximum continuous
LCI(L) Complement 4 Officers, 24 Enlisted
LCI(G) Complement 5 Officers, 65 Enlisted
LCI(M) Complement 4 Officers, 49 Enlisted
LCI(L) Troop Capacity 6 Officers, 182 Enlisted
LCI(L) Cargo Capacity 75 tons
Armor 2″ plastic splinter protection on gun turrets, conning tower and pilot house
Endurance 4,000 miles at 12 kts, loaded, 500 miles at 15 kts; and 110 tons of fuel
LCI(L) Armament five single 20mm guns, one bow mounted, one each port and starboard forward of wheelhouse, one each port and starboard aft of wheelhouse, on some LCIs two .50 cal machine guns were added
LCI(G) Armament two 40mm guns, four 20mm guns, six .50cal machine guns, 10 MK7 rocket launchers
LCI(M) Armament one single 40mm gun, forward, four 20mm guns, three 4.2mm chemical mortars mounted in three 4ft x 4ft wooden walled 2″ x 6″ high sand boxes on the well deck with the three tripod mortar tubes in position to fire forward over the bow, No. 2 Troop Compartment (under well deck) converted to a magazine
Fuel Capacity 130 tons, lube oil 200 gal.
Propulsion two sets of 4 GM diesels, 4 per shaft, BHP 1,600, twin variable pitch propellers
Tec divers locate and dive on a shipwreck that has been missing for over one year.
Koh Tao, Thailand – In April of 2009 a wooden overnight ferry that would transport passengers and goods from Koh Tao Island to Chumphon City sank in rough waves and strong wind. The boat sank slowly allowing all the occupants to be rescued.
In May of 2009 a group of individuals contacted big blue tech to conduct a search for the wreck in an attempt to identify it as a potential artificial reef which was completed after warm-up training. However, due to technological limitations the wreck wasn’t found at the position reported.
In Christmas of 2009 it was reported that fishermen were catching their drag nets on something big under the water. The position was logged with their GPS as an area to avoid in the future and this information was passed down to the technical divers who have been looking for information in that area.
Today staff from Big Blue Tech set out on the sea early in the morning armed with GPS and a type of sonar that shows the topography of the sea bed to find the lost nightboat. The staff members included Helen Artal. Duncan Tyler, Thomas Hallstrom, Yvonne Fries and James Thornton-Allan worked as a team relaying information from the sonar to the GPS to the captain as we got closer.
Unfortunately the information we received was not accurate again and the GPS mark was showing nothing. After 30 minutes of searching the sonar bleeped showing the depth which was a constant 40m raise up to 27m about 1 kilometer away from all reports of the sinking. This was clearly what we were looking for, after a few more sweeps the shot line was thrown in and James set off to make the confirmation.
As James descended the divers waited on the surface waiting for the signal that there was a wreck below and that the rest of the team should descend. The signal would be a bright orange air bag that would float on the surface after filled with a small amount of air from below. After what seemed like an eternity the bag broke the surface along with cheers and applause.
The wreck is sitting perfectly upright in the silt, the stern is completely covered in fishing nets which appears to have ripped of the top roof exposing one floor. The length and width hasn’t been measured yet but it’s estimated at 30m long in length with plenty of room for penetration.
Without knowing the actual name of this boat we have named this large blue nightboat simply the “Big Blue Wreck”. More information needs to be gathered and a survey to be conducted before the wreck will be opened up to Big Blue Tech customers.
The Save Koh Tao group have approached Big Blue Tech to find a recent wreck for them. Around the end of April, koh tao was hit with strong winds and high waves which resulted in the sinking on a night ferry. Thankfully no one was hurt and the few people on the boat were rescued as the boat sank.
This boat is a large wooden ferry that would go from Koh Tao Island to Chumphon Pier taking different goods and materials the island needed. The Save Koh Tao group wants a survey done and an environmental assessment to find out if any hazardous materials on board could have marine life effect.
Unfortunately the nature of wooden boats is that it won’t last long unless it’s quite deep. So tomorrow morning bright and early we set off with several technical divers to find the missing ship. However before that we did a dry run with some warm up skills to show the more recent technical divers what to expect and what skills they should enhance.