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Diving into 75 years of British Loyalty wreck

Events for the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the “British Loyalty Shipwreck”, have concluded with great success. Today’s event was participated by Addu Council members, and as a chief guest, the Tourism Minister of Maldives, who arrived in Addu yesterday for the event.

The events started at Maradhoo harbour, with an inaugural ceremony. The participants then traveled to the dive site on dive boats, where there was a short dive to the shipwreck. There were a total of 75 local divers who participated in the event. The minister during this trip also opened a new hotel in Meedhoo, Xen Meedhoo, and also made an exciting announcement about conducting World Tourism Day events in Addu, on 27th September 2021.

Photo: Aquaventure Maldives
Photo: Aquaventure Maldives

The events for the Diamond Jubilee for the wreck were organised by Nalafehi Meedhoo, based out of Meedhoo, with the support of the Addu City Council, NGOs & local dive centers. It is to be participated by stake holders in the local tourism industry and divers from Britain as well.

The British Loyalty was an oil tanker used by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces during the Second World War. The tanker was used to supply to fuel to Gan, before it was torpedoed by Japanese forces. The British Loyalty stayed afloat for two more years, before being scuttled in January 5th of 1946 during British withdrawal from Gan. The wreck is a symbol of the consistent relations between the people of Addu and Britain. The wreck lies at a depth of 33 meters, and can be easily accessed by speedboat. Over time, the  wreck became part of the marine ecosystem, covered with a variety of corals, making it one of the most coveted dive sites in all of Maldives. It is home to multiple species of marine life, ranging from Bluefin Trevally to Turtles. There are also reports of Manta Ray and Shark sightings.    

This event, and the attention it garners will shine a spotlight on to Addu, showcasing the uniqueness of the islands and the beauty it has to offer for tourists. The hope is that this will be a stepping stone for the revival of the local tourism industry in Addu after the devastating blow of Covid-19.