The British Loyalty wreck is one of the most famous wrecks in the Maldives and certainly while diving Addu Atol or Seenu.
|Name Dive Site:||British Loyalty|
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The 5.583 ton oil tanker British Loyalty was built in 1928 in New Castle. The ship was torpedoed twice by enemy submarines during the war. The first time was by a Japanese midget submarine in Diego Suarez harbor, Madagascar on May 30, 1942. The ship settled on the bottom but was later repaired. She was torpedoed again in Addu Atoll harbor on March 9, 1944. The submarine had ingeniously fired through a gap in the submarine nets blocking Gan Kandu. The ship was damaged but not sunk and stayed here for the rest of the war. The Loyalty was finally scuttled inside the harbor on January 5, 1946, before the British withdrew from Gan. According to Mr. Mohammed Ibraheem Loutfi, who was a Maldivian liaison officer during the war, the ship was towed by tug to its present location and finally sunk by the guns of a British warship.
The wreck lies 25 minutes by dhoni from the Equator Village Resort between the island of Maradhoo and Hithadoo. It is lying on the starboard side and the bottom is at around 33 meters. The port side is at 16 meters and the bow points almost directly north. The total length of the wreck is 140 meters and its beam is 20 meters. Coral growth is excellent with large clumps of hard coral all over and a good covering of soft coral. At several places on the railing, big balls of coral look like natural fenders.
The propeller is at 28 meters and originally had four blades made of brass each two meters long. Now the topmost blade is missing but the remaining three are covered in big bushy black coral trees. In front of the engine room, about 60 meters from the stern are two large holes, one on the deck, the other on the keel. These are so big; divers can easily swim through from one side to the other. The holes were most likely caused by the torpedo blast. Visibility averages around 20 meters. Schools of blue-fin trevally and a large turtles swim around the deck while on the upper side many smaller fish have found a home among the coral.
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