British Loyalty shipwreck turns 75

Nalafehi Meedhoo, a non government organisation based in Meedhoo of Addu City, has announced that the organisation will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of the British Loyalty shipwreck, which has become on the best dive sites in the Maldives.

According to Nalafehi Meedhoo community, the 75th anniversary of the wreck, which was submerged on January 5, 1946 will be commemorated in association with the Addu City Council.

Officials from the tourism ministry, British High Commission, and Addu City Council will attend the event, to be held on Tuesday. It will also see the participation of 75 British divers.

The British loyalty ship was the former 5,583-tonne oil tanker that was built in 1928 and owned by Palmers Co. Ltd., Newcastle.

The ship was first attacked while it was in the Diego Suarez harbour of Madagascar in 1942 during the Second World War. It was then attacked by a Japanese midget submarine.

While the ship was only slightly damaged, it was taken to the southernmost atoll of Maldives, Addu City, in 1943 as a storage hulk. While the ship was kept at the harbour in Addu Atoll, it was again attacked on March 9, 1944.

However, this attack had not submerged the ship either. It continued to stay on the water for a while until the Loyalty scuttled inside the harbour on January 05, 1946.

Now the British Loyalty ship lies 33 metres under water between the islands Maradhoo and Hithadhoo. The site is easily accessible by boat, as it is less than 25 minutes away even from Gan.

The ship is covered with hard and soft corals that are home to a large number of small fishes. It is also surrounded by groups of fishes, including blue-fin jack and turtles that swim around the ship.

At times, divers also find manta rays and sharks around the Loyalty ship.

Note: The above article contains reporting by Times of Addu.

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