Huge World War II shipwreck raised from the depths

The Sri Lankan Navy divers deployed 98 divers on the ambitious salvage operation


By James Rogers - Fox News


A massive World War II shipwreck has been raised from the bottom of a harbor in Sri Lanka 75 years after the vessel was sunk following an attack by Japanese forces.

The SS Saigang, a British passenger and cargo ship, was hit by Japanese bomber attacks on April 9, 1942, while at anchor in Trincomalee harbor. With fires raging, the ship was abandoned.

On August 24, 1943, the damaged vessel was deliberately sunk in 35 feet of water to create a pier for naval ships. Authorities in Sri Lanka, however, have decided to move the wreck to create more space in the harbor.

After a five-month operation, the huge 453-foot hull was recently raised by Sri Lanka’s Navy. As part of the mammoth salvage effort, Navy divers worked to restore damage on the rusted hull and strengthen the ship’s structure.

Divers even installed an artificial side to the vessel as part of an effort to recover lost buoyancy by “dewatering” the ship, according to a Sri Lankan Navy statement.

The ship started its ascent to the surface on March 22. News 1st reports that after being towed to the sea off Trincomalee, the wreck was sunk again on Friday as part of an effort to preserve it.

Launched in 1924, the merchant ship was used to transport passengers and goods between the U.K. and Burma, according to the Wrecksite website.

On the day of the Japanese attack, the Saigang was transporting aircraft and ammunition for the allied war effort, most of which was saved.


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