The King Cruiser Wreck

On the 4th of May 1997,The King Cruiser, a car ferry operating from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands in southern Thailand, ran aground on a reef and the impact tore a large hole in the vessel’s hull. The vessel took only 17 minutes to sink and now lies on the seabed in 30m of water. Thankfully all 561 passengers on board at the time were rescued.

The wreck sits upright in thirty metres of water and remains in one piece although the foreword upper deck has collapsed. The simplest and safest point of entry is through the vessels stern where divers can explore the once active car decks. This can be reached via a descent line averaging only 10 metres. Machinery still sits on the deck. Inside the car deck are a couple of vehicle tyres and an engine trolley. The interior darkens as you continue through and up one of the stairways on either side; the handrails are totally covered in barnacles. Both these stairways lead through open doors and out to walkways.

The collapsed foredeck is at 16 metres; where you can find some plastic chairs and tables being enjoyed by a vertical cloud of snappers using the unlikely structure to shelter from any ensuing currents. The upper deck is split from front to back and this has obviously caused it to collapse; two funnels act as boundaries for parrotfish and wrasse as they go about their daily business on this artificial reef. As for Anemone reef (the reef the King Cruiser hit) well, half remains where it always has been, the remainder is on the mend, not as the once rocky haven of marine life but as a steel one!

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