Golden jubilee of British Loyalty wreck commemorated

A special event to commemorate the golden jubilee of the British Loyalty wreck was held Tuesday.

Visit Maldives joined the event, organised by Nalafehi Meedhoo, a non-government organisation based in Meedhoo of Addu City, in association with the Addu City Council.

The event, held at the Maradhoo harbour area, commenced with the unveiling of the logo for the 75th anniversary of the British Loyalty wreck.

It was followed by a cultural dance and a speech by Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sadiq.

Tourism minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom also gave a speech which was followed by a cultural activity and the handing over of the British Loyalty model to the Addu City Mayor.

After this, divers and the VIPs traveled to the shipwreck for the special diving event which was concluded with a special group photo, and the handing over of the certificate of participation to the divers by the minister and the mayor.

The day marks the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the World War II oil tanker in Addu City. The British Loyalty Wreck, which is the biggest shipwreck in Maldives, lies 33 meters underwater between the islands Maradhoo and Hithadhoo.

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.

Additionally, it is notable that this wreck has been declared a protected area by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Maldives in 2018. This was done to preserve the natural beauty and surroundings.

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