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Japanese Cargo Wreck (GDS Leato) - Indonesia


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One of the wrecks used for Wreck Diving in Gorontalo sunk in 1942, the year of Gorontalo’s independence. A Japanese cargo vessel loaded with copra, wood and rattan caught fire after sailing. The helmsman turned the ship around and tried to return to port. He intended to run aground in the sand but instead hit the coral wall. The impact immediately pushed the stern underwater and the entire ship quickly sank. All crew managed to swim ashore, but the ship and its cargo were a total loss.

The ship now rests upside down just off the wall in 50 meters of water, its propeller within 26 meters of the ocean surface. Two-thirds of the hull leans on a rocky outcrop, falling at a 14-degree angle, until the hull buckles horizontally with the stern resting on the ocean floor. The wreck is almost level, tilting only slightly seaward. The hull bottom of the stern is heavily sprinkled with gorgonian whips that look purple in ambient light. About midway a large tear in the ship’s port side provides access at 44 meters; light is visible underneath the wreck from tears in its starboard side. The ship’s bow is almost completely exposed with two decks clearly evident.

The wreck is 50 meters long, 7 meters wide, and about 5 meters high (hull to deck).

Depth: 26 – 50 meters

Highlights: large, deep wreck

Conditions: Visibility on the wreck is typically about 15 meters. Even when upper waters are cloudy from runoff, visibility is often better below. Currents are seldom an issue.

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