It was a British Minesweeper of Algerine Class famous for being the very last Royal Naval vessel sunk during WWII, hit by a Japanese Kamikaze plane and finally scuttled due to extensive damage on the 26th of July 1945.
The ship now lies in 72m of water flat on its keel on a sandy seabed. The dive is a spectacular one and the amount of fish surrounding the wreck is awesome. Some nets cover the wreck so entanglement can be a problem.
The Petaling Cargo Ship is another great wreck used mainly for technical diver training as it sits at around 60 meters and has an overall length of 40m.
According to a Thai local who actually witnessed the attack and the final rescue of its crew, the story says that it was sunk by a British submarine found cruising the coasts of Phuket. The crew that survived the attack ended up drifting down to Kata Noi Beach, deported by strong currents. The vessel now lies off Kata Beach in 60m of water, flat on its keel with a slit list to port.
The status of the ship is now pretty broken down. The Rudder and propeller are still their as if time could not harm them. This wreck for some reasons has a number of portholes lying around it that do not match the actual size of the boat. Like most of the wrecks, this one has been colonised by schools of fish, Moray eels now live in the numerous crevices and itís not rare to spot rays lying on the surrounding seabed.
Itís reported that Phuket could be in for a real find as many technical divers are in search of the sister ship to the Vestal - HMS Squirrel which probably lies off Racha Noi in around 95 meters of water.
Phuket also offers great depth at all of its top sites, the Similans, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang allowing technical divers variation in their diving exploration trips.
These sites cannot be reached by the average scuba diver and you must have the necessary technical diving experience before even attempting to go beyond a depth of 30 meters. Having said that, Phuket now offers great technical training facilities and private charter boats offering exclusive technical diver travel.
Technical diving allows you to dive deeper for longer, but generally includes decompression obligations, mixed gases and specialist equipment. Closed circuit rebreather divers are often seen diving these sites as they have the ability to re-circulate the air they breath maximising their dive time.
Even though technical diving is relatively new to Phuket this is a growing market and one which will provide great adventure.
Pro-Tech Dive College
Karon Beach, Phuket