Across the central Asian maritime shipping routes where spices and tea were shipped from Asia, Sri Lanka was featured prominently for centuries. In the light of authentic records, over two hundred ship wrecks have been assessed around the shoreline of Sri Lanka. In transportation through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Malacca, Sri Lanka was a strategic location during the Second World War. Using advanced resonance scanning technology, many ship wrecks and diving spots have been found and the search continues till today. A vast amount of shipping traffic all around the coast of Sri Lanka was resulted by the trade, conflict, E- Commerce, and war from the times of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British five hundred year ago, hence the reason for the proportionately large number of ship wrecks.
The famous wrecks in Sri Lanka are the HMS Hermes, Car Carrier wreck, Ship Wreck, Taj Wreck, Wreck of an aircraft and many more out of which the HMS Wreck of the World War 2 is given prominence among all the wreck diving sites in Sri Lanka. It is a 12,900 ton aircraft carrier which was sunk by the Japanese together with a crew of 307 men in an air raid on the 9th of April in 1942. It is designated as a ‘Military Maritime Grave’ and has access to the inside of the wreck. As it is considered as a Commonwealth War Grave, the removal of artifacts and photographing human remains aren’t allowed. The Taj Wreck which is a 45m Harbor boat is home to schools of barracuda, rabbit fish and stingrays and some of the broken up areas of the hull are open to Scuba Diving penetrations. The aircraft wreck which was shot down during the Second World War lies at the depth of 30m, where the wings, cockpit and the twisted remains of the aircraft of its propeller can still be identified. The Wreck of SS Conch, the 3300 ton oil tank is the most visited site which has been sunk off the rocks in Akurala. The wreck offers some good and adventurous scuba diving opportunities lying in a depth of less than 15 meters are two halves of the wreck abundant with marine life.
The old ship wreck sites in Sri Lanka which surrounds the coastline are must-see places if you ever happen to visit the island as its marine life is great in abundance.