The MV Sea Chart 1 was a cargo ship built in 1970 in Emden, Germany and after many owners was finally purchased in 2008 by the Sea Chartering Company in Bangkok who renamed her M/V Sea Chart 1. She mainly operated between Burma, Vietnam and Thailand to ship large cargo. She measured 84m in length and 12m at the beam. On the 23rd of August 2009 whilst en route from Myanmar to Vietnam laden with a full cargo of Burmese Iron wood Teak logs, she encountered unexpected heavy weather, began taking in water and finally sunk just 10 kilometers from Tap Lamu harbor, near Khao Lak. This wood is also known as illegal teak as there is a UNESCO ban on the harvesting and trading of this kind of wood. Luckily, all crew survived on inflatable rafts and were safely rescued by the Thai Navy.
The vessel rests on its starboard side in 40 meters of depth on bare sand. The shallowest point on the wreck is the port side hull at between 22 and 24 meters. Much of her original cargo lies still onboard and in general the whole wreck is in excellent condition. There are opportunities for some simple penetration into the wheel house and explore the propeller and the cargo which lies partially spilt over the sea bed.
For many years this site was off limits. A fight over salvage rights between the company and Thai Navy prevented it to open for recreational diving activities, but finally it did and became a new addition to the Khao lak diving scene. Although still a relatively ‘young' wreck, she is already colonized by an abundant variety of marine growth and fish activity. Fusiliers, trevally, tuna and barracuda are drifting around the wreck and a group of rainbow runners are often found hanging out close to the mooring line. Many single lionfish are dotted around in spots sheltered from the current and a large school of batfish have taken up residence here too. The exposed hull is covered in Sea Urchins and schools of snappers. Inside a keen eye can spot all manner of interesting creatures. There may be frogfish perched on ledges, ghost pipefish hanging in quieter sections or nudibranchs feeding on sea squirts.
The average depth may restrict your dive time somewhat, so it is an ideal site both for nitrox and technical divers.
The MV Sea Chart 1 offers a breathtaking sight and makes every dive a new experience as new features and obstacles are revealed.