The HTMS Mataphon
On 20 October, 2012, The Royal Thai Navy sunk the LCT mk6 761, or the HTMS Mataphon, just a little south east of Koh Lan, off the coast of Pattaya. The coordinace are N12 53′ 49.4″ E100 47′ 02.1″. Though we were expecting the HTMS Phetra she is an almost identical ship. She lies now in the channel between Koh Crok and Koh Lan so whenever the currents are strong she will be exposed. Though fairly small compared to our other wrecks, she should prove to be an interesting dive, especially as she sits in only 20 meters of water. I can see many benefits from where she lies, from an easy two wreck dive day combined with the HTMS Kud, to being able to do Koh Rin and a wreck in the same day. Also she should be protected from the prevailing Northerly winds (and waves) in the high season.
As we approached her the next day, she was still under guard from a Thai war ship, we feared that they would not let us dive on her. Our captain, Sombat, hailed the war ship and asked if we could and they waved us off, saying the equivalent of ‘up to you’. So, with a cheer from our boat, we went over to the little marker buoy the Navy thoughtfully left on her. It quickly turned into a race to see who could touch her first and Graham became the first recreational diver to dive on her. Suspecting that there would be no mooring buoy we made one up and put it on her stern. She is lying in a north east (stern) by south west (bow) direction. She has a few easy penetrations top deck and a few more challenging below in the engine rooms. There are also some ballast holds forward which provide tight entrances but not much to see once inside. Obviously as she was only 24 hours sunk, there was no life on board but the next day when we dove on her there were already some large Sweetlips and a few Yellow Tail Snappers and a lovely Yellow Sea Horse that had taken residence.
On the afternoon of the 20th, the HTMS Phetra was seen to loaded on the barge and she presumably was transported to Rayon, where she has been sunk.
Her specifications and approximate lay out can can viewed on this link HTMS Phetra.
Here are pictures of her just before she went down and a few on our first three dives
Our first video depicting our first two dives on the HTMS Mataphon