A team of divers of Sri Lanka Navy making a landmark turning point in the field of Diving and Salvage refloated the Royal Navy ship, Her Majesty’s Naval Service SS Sagaing, 75 years after it was sunk in Trincomalee harbor by the Japanese during World War II.The 138 m long Passenger cum Cargo Ship launched on 24th December 1924 was hit by Japanese carrier air craft bomber attacks whilst at anchorage in Trincomalee harbor on 09th April 1942 and subsequently abandoned due to escalating fire onboard. On 24th August 1943, the damaged ship was sunk to be used as a pier for Naval Ships.
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 Trincomalee harbor. 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 September 2017.
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 endeavors 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.
LCdr Sathishka Pathirana and LCdr Shiran Buddhika assisted the operation 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 were highly affected in the successful endeavor. Tokyo Cement Company provided a Crane Barge almost throughout the period with a full time operator.The entire proceedings of the wreck refloating effort were orchestrated under the guidance of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe.