King Cruiser – Dive Site Info
Rating by MV Giamani: ★★★★☆
King Cruiser Wreck – Description
MS King Cruiser, an 85m long and 25m wide twin-hull motor catamaran, was originally operating in Japan as a car ferry. It was later moved to Thailand where it was operating as a passengers-only ferry commuting between Phuket and Phi Phi Don Island. This until 4 May 1997, when for some reason the captain took a slightly different course from the usual and crashed into a shallow underwater pinnacle (Anemone Reef) and rapidly started sinking. The reasons of the course change have been unclear, although there are suspicions of insurance fraud. Fortunately, all of the 561 passengers were safely evacuated and rescued by the many tour boats that were already in the proximity when the SOS was issued. The wreck is a little to the east of Shark Point and Anemone Reef. Good news for us divers, King Cruiser sank in an upright position sitting flat on the 32 meters deep sandy bottom. Being in the water for more than 20 years the wreck has of course deteriorated and many parts have collapsed, but at the same time, it has become a thriving artificial reef thriving with fish life. The upper deck is literally covered by fish, as there are schools of yellow snappers and bigeye barracudas made of thousands of individuals each. The red and purple soft corals are thriving all over the hull sides and the wreck. Lionfish and scorpionfish are also found all over the wreck, as well as several different kinds of colorful nudibranchs making it a great dive also for macro lovers. The shallowest parts of the wreck are around 18 meters of depth while the sandy bottom is beyond 30 meters, which combined with the sometimes fairly strong current and unpredictable visibility makes it a dive suitable only for advanced and experienced divers.