Wreck diving is no longer a far-fetched dream for Koh Chang’s diving scene and visiting divers. Last Thursday, the 22nd of November, the HTMS Chang 712, formerly US Navy Landing Ship LST-898 Lincoln County , has been successfully sunk a few kilometres west of Bang Bao.
The sinking was proceeded by an official naval ceremony on board the HTMS Bang Pakong ( FFG-456 ) which, for the occasion, was anchored just a few hundred meters away from the HTMS Chang. Local officials visited the frigate and took part in the ceremony which was concluded with the National Anthem and the lowering of flower-corsets into the sea.
The actual sinking of the ship went very smooth and was well timed, which came a bit as a surprise.
Now, the HTMS Chang is sitting at the bottom in 30m of sea water. The top part of the antenna is literately 40 cm below the surface. A more detailed description of the wreck, and the correct depths, will be for a next write-up as we have to dive it a couple more times so we can compose an accurate map.
We were lucky to dive the new wreck 30 minutes after it had been sunk. We were amazed by how well the ship had been positioned on the bottom and that we had such good visibility, knowing that only half an hour before a huge water displacement had taken place.
For the moment the HTMS Chang is off limits, only for a couple of days, on strict demand from the Royal Thai navy. They want to make sure that the wreck is secure and they will also install mooring buoys around it, not in the least to keep eager fishing boats well away from this location.
This new dive site has lots of new exciting stuff to offer and is best dived when you are a PADI Advanced Diver or similar level. To even further extend your adventure the PADI Wreck Specialty and Nitrox certification could be on the top of your list.
The moment the site is accessible again, we will let you know. In the meantime enjoy this short video made by Koh Chang Photographer, who joined us for this very first dive on the HTMS Chang.
Arrangements can by made with them if you want to have a professional photo shoot done on the wreck.
In the meantime… Happy Bubbles!