Navy proves professional expertise in salvage of HMNS SS Sagaing
sank during WW II
The wreck of one of the famous ships of Her Majesty's
Naval Service - SS Sagaing which sank at the Trincomalee harbour during
the World War II, is refloated after 75 years stay underwater by a team
of divers of Sri Lanka Navy making a landmark turning point in the field
of Diving and Salvage.
This 138 m long Passenger cum Cargo Ship launched in
24thDecember 1924 was hit by Japanese carrier air craft bomber attacks
whilst at anchorage in Trincomalee harbour on 09th April 1942 and
subsequently abandoned due to escalating fire onboard. On 24thAugust
1943, the damaged ship had been sunken to be used as a pier for Naval
Sri Lanka Navy resorted to refloat the wreck which was
fully submerged 35 feet under the sea in order to make sea room for
expanding berthing facilities in the harbour. The task of salvaging and
removing the ship wreck was assigned to Eastern Naval Command and it was
undertaken by the Eastern Command Diving Unit headed by the Command
Diving Officer (E), Captain (CDO) Krishantha Athukorala on 11th
Then a comprehensive salvage plan made by CDO (E) was
launched by a team of divers supervised by CPO (DIV) ALNSS Liyanage
through patching up all damages and strengthening up deteriorated ship's
structural parts by erecting an artificial ship side in to the sunken
wreck for dewatering ship's internal volume to recover lost buoyancy.
After a series of dedicated endeavour made along a period of five
months, on 22nd March the wreck started to ascent to the surface proving
the professionalism and instinct of SLN Divers.
The operation was assisted by LCdr Sathishka Pathirana
and LCdr Shiran Buddhika along with 98 diving sailors permanently
deployed to the project. Timely support, by the Operations, Logistics,
Engineering, Electrical, Shipwright and Medical Departments and the
continuous advices received from Director General Operations Rear
Admiral Piyal De Silva were highly affected in this successful endeavour.
The entire proceedings of the wreck refloating effort were orchestrated
under the able guidance of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan
This project would not have been completed as
scheduled without the unstinted support extended by the Tokyo Cement
Company by way of providing a Crane Barge almost throughout the period
with a full time operator.
Courtesy : Navy Media Unit