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The wreck of a 1943 submarine has been found in Thailand.

In the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Andaman Sea to the South China Sea, a group of technical divers from Thailand and Singapore have found the wreck of a World War II submarine. According to their findings, the located vessel is most likely the USS Grenadier. The search was led by a four-person diving
Published: September 11, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:02
The wreck of a 1943 submarine has been found in Thailand.

In the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Andaman Sea to the South China Sea, a group of technical divers from Thailand and Singapore have found the wreck of a World War II submarine. According to their findings, the located vessel is most likely the USS Grenadier.

The search was led by a four-person diving team including Jean Luc Rivoire and Benoit Laborie from Singapore and Ben Reymenants and Lance Horowitz from Phuket, Thailand. They carried out a total of six dives over six months in an attempt to identify the wreck.

Side scan sonar of USS Grenadier wreck divers24.co.uk
Wreck visible on side scan sonar

At the moment, the team is awaiting verification of the documentation it has collected, which it has passed on to specialists from the United States Naval History and Heritage Command. The opinion issued by the Americans should finally confirm the identity of the found vessel.

Open hatch of USS Grenadier wreck divers24.co.uk
One of the open manholes

The alleged wreck of the USS Grenadier has been found during a search using sonar. The vessel is located at a depth of 83m in the Strait of Malacca, about 80 Mm south of Phuket, Thailand.

To date, the team has already searched the archives of twelve countries whose submarines were deployed in the region during World War II. The aim was to pick out potential vessels that had been reported missing and are still missing. On this basis, three potentials were selected, but the description and dimensions seem to fit the USS Grenadier perfectly.

The team took measurements of various parts of the submarine wreck, such as the kiosk, hatches and winches. These measurements matched perfectly with technical drawings of the Tambor submarine obtained from the US National Archives and Records Administration.

It is every technical diver’s dream to find such a piece of history. We train a lot for these difficult dives, because we like to explore and find things that are not easily accessible. This is thefirst time we make such a discovery, but we are also looking for other wrecks,” said Lance Horowitz

The wreck lies flush on its keel on a sandy seabed. It is partially covered with broken fishing nets and, importantly, all hatches are completely open. This is a clear sign that the vessel was sunk deliberately. This is another clue that the wreck is actually a US Tambor class submarine.

USS Grenadier was sunk by her crew on April 21, 1943, shortly after the vessel suffered severe damage from an underwater explosive device dropped by a Japanese aircraft.

Electrical resistor from the wreck of the USS Grenadier divers24.pl
Electrical resistor found in wreckage

Near the wreck, divers also found an electrical resistor bearing the name of a Chicago-based company that has been manufacturing electrical components, including those used by the US Navy, for more than 90 years.

The exact location of the wreck is currently a closely guarded secret. This is due to the large-scale search for and extraction of scrap metal from historical wrecks in the region. Divers are now working closely with government agencies and are exploring the wreck in accordance with current legislation on historic and cultural heritage sites.

Historic photo of the Tambor class ship
Archival photograph of the Tambor class submarine

More dives are planned on the wreck in the coming months. This is a huge vessel and there is still a lot left to investigate. The next step is to carry out documentation of the guns, torpedo launchers and periscopes. The team makes no secret of the fact that the information obtained will finally dispel any doubts about the ship’s identity.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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