It has always been rumored that at the time of it’s sinking in 1989 the 60 meter long Unicorn was sunk on purpose as an insurance scam. Local Koh Tao inhabitants said that the ship just pulled up off shore, around a mile north of Koh Tao and over the next couple of hours slowly sank after an explosion on the vessel. No-one was hurt in the sinking. An Insurance fraud was immediately suspected, insurance investigators were sent to investigate the cause of the sinking and to confirm the cargo which was listed as expensive Tuna Fish. Divers descended to examine the wreck, and discovered that the holds contained nothing but low-grade animal Feed (Dog-Food) un-fit for human consumption, NOT expensive Tuna fish as listed on the manifest. hence the nickname it later aquired – the “dog food” wreck.
Lying around 12km north and 20-30mins off Koh Tao and in 50 meters of water the vessel lies, mostly intact, on it’s port side at an angle with the top of the bow at 38meters, and the keel of the bow area several meters above the seabed, allowing divers to swim under this area of the hull. Fishing nets have been removed from the wreck allowing some moderate penetration. Big schools of jacks, batfish and barracuda patrol the area directly above the wreck with a pair of large groupers residing inside the wreck. Here at DJL we often dive the Unicorn as part of our Technical diving program, especially the Tech 45 course. Due to the depth and location it is always quiet and diver free. I dived the Unicorn for the first time in march last year, as the visibility was very good the wreck appeared to have an eerie greenish around the outline of the wreck (maybe just narcosis) and was enthralled by the always curious bat fish.