At the end of November, the Royal Thai Navy sank one of their ships off the coat of Koh Chang. However rather than being as a result of naval tragedy it was a long-planned, deliberate act designed to give an aged warship a new and environmentally friendly purpose – reef building.

The warship, HTMS Chang, was a tank landing ship that was originally commissioned by the US Navy during World War II. Under her former name, USS Lincoln County, she saw action in Pacific Naval engagements around the Marianas Islands and the Philippines. She later served in the Korean War. The Royal Thai Navy purchased her in 1962 and she was renamed the HTMS Chang.

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It is well established that under the correct circumstances, new coral reefs will grow on sunken ships. Over time, coral migrates from neighbouring reefs and can lead to a flourishing new sustained ecosystem. The hope is that the process will give the HTMS Chang a life after her naval service helping develop a healthy coral reef for future generations to enjoy.

Already the sunken warship is proving a massive hit with the diving community. With a total displacement of 1625 tons and measuring 100 metres in length with a beam of over 15 metres, the ship has become the biggest wreck dive site in Thailand and is sure to attract many diving aficionados to the island. Its location is several kilometres to the west of Koh Chang at a depth of 20 (top) to 30 (bottom) metres – perfect for most leisure divers to enjoy.

 The sinking itself was a carefully planned operation carried out by the Navy and according to reports from local diving experts, went perfectly with the ship well positioned on the sea floor. The sinking took place on the 22nd November 2012 and was proceeded by an appropriately solemn official ceremony onboard HTMS Bang Pakong which lay close by. After the playing of the national anthem, floral tributes were laid on the sea and the order was given to begin the control scuttling of HTMS Chang. The operation proceeded exactly as planned.

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Siam Royal View is the leading provider of luxury villas in Pattaya. Our development on Koh Chang was recognised as the best villa development on the Thailand’s eastern seaboard at the national property awards. If you would like more details on property at either of these locations please get in touch.

HTMS Chang, Thailands new underwater ship wreck


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