HTMS Hardeep

Vessels name: Supornthep, (HTMS Hardeep) Registration: Thai, Sunk: May 1945

The “HTMS HARDEEP” was an 80-meter freighter, pressed into inter-coastal transport service by the occupying Japanese, and sunk towards the end of WWII. It is fully penetrable, and a great site for getting your Wreck Diver specialty certification.

Bombed by English Aircraft during World War II during English/Thai Hostilities Powered by 3 cylinder coal fired engine. Single screw Vessel type: Cargo ship Length/Tonnage: 60meters/1000tons Wreck Location: N012’31.5, E100’57.5. Near Koh Chuang, Gulf of Siam Wreck details: Lying on its starboard side. Max depth 26 meters, with two 1000 pound bombs nearby.

Pattaya’s only genuine war wreck and is one of the most popular sites for diving in Thailand. The ship was actually named the  SS Suddhadib (or Suthathip) and was sunk by British Royal Air Force bombing in the closing days of the Second World War. Built by the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Company in 1918, the steam-powered cargo ship was named after one of King Rama V’s daughters. Princess Suddhadib herself attended the blessing ceremony when the ship was delivered to Bangkok in 1919 and was presented with a silver model of the vessel. The ship then entered service with the Siam Steamship Company, carrying passengers and cargo around Thailand and South East Asia.In 1940, the Suddhadib was requisitioned by the Thai government for service in support of the Imperial Japanese Army as part of the Thai Navigation Company. She carried fuel and cargo throughout the Second World War and, in 1945, was sent to Singapore to collect fuel for the Thai Fuel Company and Japanese Army. Her return to Bangkok was blocked by mines in the mouth of the Chaopraya River, so she remained at anchor in Sattahip naval base, arriving in late May 1945.

An RAF air raid on 30 May 1945 targeted the ship, but she suffered no damage. As a precaution, she was moved to Samaesan on 31 May. However, on 1 June, a further attempt was made on the Suddhadib and the nearby HTMS Angthong and HTMS Tachin. Ten B-24 Liberators of the. 99 Squadron also RAF 13 from No. 159 Squadron, stationed at Digri (near Kolkata), India, attacked the Suddhadib at low level.One of the five M-59 1,000lb bombs carried by Wing Commander Lucien Ercolani of 159 Squadron skipped off the surface of the water and landed in the fuel-filled forward cargo hold. Although it breached and set fire to several of the oil drums in the main hold, it failed to detonate, punching a hole clean through the starboard side of the ship. The ship sank quickly at 12.55pm, coming to rest approximately 27 metres down. The 15 crewmembers all survived – having abandoned ship early in the attack, they swam for the safety of Koh Chuang – In all 23 aircraft involved returned to base after a 15-hour sortie. HTMS Angthong was also sunk in the same attack and the Tachin was badly damaged. The “Hardeep” wreck is only just within safe recreational diving limits, suffers from occasional Jomtien Dive Center Divers - HTMS Hardeep has a tendency to have strong currents, and is a long distance from Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier. However, with an abundance of marine life, safe penetration afforded by her open cargo holds, and the story of her violent sinking, she is still one of the best shipwrecks in the area. She rests on her starboard side, which is the only side to have suffered serious bomb damage. The hole in the port side was purpose-cut to allow the safe salvage of the steam engines. Several unexploded bombs still litter the wreck site, including the one believed to have delivered the fatal blow, so special care and paying close attention to divemasters is required at this dive site.