The HTMS (His Thai Majesty Ship) Sattakut has everything; history; eerie-ness; marine life in abundance; penetration points with natural daylight; penetration points with no natural daylight; depths up to 30 metres and correct punctuation from us here at Davy Jones Locker.
It was originally a landing craft infantry vessel commissioned by the US Navy in 1944, and was involved in three battles in World War II; the liberation of the Pilau Islands, the battle of Okinawa, and the battle of Iwo Jima.
In 1946 the US Navy decommissioned it, and it was purchase by the Royal Thai Navy. It lived out its service as a patrol boat, until they decommissioned it in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) purchased the ship with the intention of donating it to Koh Tao to act as an artificial reef, in order to promote tourism. The vessel was stripped of it’s engines, furniture, electric cabling and thankfully it’s ammunition! After being cleaned and sent to Koh Tao, it was sunk on the 18th June 2011.
Unfortunately because a storm came in as it was being sunk, it ended up on its side in the middle of a channel; hardly an ideal location. So in July a salvage team was brought in to right the vessel and move it to a more suitable location.
It currently sits upright in around 30 metres of water, with the bow facing roughly North. The location is perfect, as it sits around 10 metres to the South of a dive site called Hin Pee Wee. This has obviously helped to bring marine life to the wreck, which is evident today- all over it! There is currently a huge Jenkins whip ray that lives underneath the hull. There are huge spotted snapper and giant groupers sheltering from the current near the conning tower, and if you have good eyes you will be able to find some Jan’s pipefish in the rusting railings. Moray eels also like to find places to sit and watch the underwater world go by. For those that want to venture inside, apart from disturbing a number of giant groupers from their hiding places, you will see lots and lots of shrimp.
The vessel is perfect for conducting technical training dives on which we provide here at Davy Jones Locker. There are many places on the main deck to practice reeling skills and teach communication in simulated no-visibility. Plus, there are numerous places to penetrate the wreck, and they vary greatly in terms of how quickly and how badly they silt out, so practising exits in zero visibility can be made progressively more challenging. The wreck is also a great place to conduct decompression procedures training dives, as there are plenty of reference points to use when ascending to meet run times, undertaking deep stops, and gas switching.
But it’s not all about training. Let’s not forget that this wreck has an amazing history, and sometimes it’s just great to go for a long deco fun dive around it, or a penetration fun dive inside it! The ship is the closest dive site to Davy Jones Locker on Sairee beach, and we use it a lot!