On the 15th of July 2012 at the idyllic holiday island of Koh Chang we saw the arrival of something special.
Powerful tugs towed in the 100 meter long HTMS Chang Navy vessel from a Bangkok dockyard.
The American navy tank landing ship the USS Lincoln County (LST-898) was originally launched in 1944 and more recently used by the Royal Thai Navy.
The last time a defeated Thai naval vessel went down near Koh Chang was during the Franco-Thai War in 1941.
During World War II the ship was mainly used to supply troops and it saw action again in the Korean War providing shelling assistance and as medical support for wounded marines.
Following more overseas operations in Alaska and the Pacific US the vessel was decommissioned in 1961 and presented to Thailand the following year.
For almost half a century the craft served as a transporter vessel for troops and machinery under her new name of 712 HTMS CHANG.
The final resting place of the ageing landing craft was a fierce debate for many months but the decision was made and the winner is its namesake - Koh Chang.
The Royal Thai Navy intentionally sank the ship less than 7 km from the island on 22nd November 2012.
HTMS Chang now rests in 30 meters of water with the crow's nest barely a few meters below the surface.
It has three main decks and several other sub decks where you will find the military cabins and corridors, briefing rooms, and the engine room. The artificial reef is officially the longest underwater wreck in Thailand and quite simply an awesome dive for all certification levels.
Average Depth: 14m
Maximum Depth: 30m
Underwater Visibility: 10 - 15m
General Currents: Weak to Moderate
Unusual Hazards: None Noted
Points Of Interest: Barracudas, Octopus, Moray Eels, Stingrays, Wrasses, Puffer Fish, Snappers, Hermit Crab.
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