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SS Sagaing: WW2 shipwreck refloated by Sri Lanka navy

March 31, 2018
The wreck of the SS Sagaing after it was floated by Sri Lanka's navyImage copyrightSri Lanka Navy
Image caption Divers from Sri Lanka’s navy had to reinforce the vessel’s frame before raising it

A British Royal Navy ship that sank after it was bombed in a Japanese air strike in World War Two has been raised off the Sri Lanka coast after 75 years.

The SS Sagaing, whose passengers and cargo were largely saved back in 1942, has been refloated with the help of a team of divers from Sri Lanka’s navy.

It had been resting about 35ft (10.7m) under the water at Trincomalee harbour.

The salvage operation took several months and was carried out by Sri Lanka’s Eastern Naval Command unit.

Image copyrightSri Lanka Navy
Image caption The operation to bring the wreck to the surface took several months

It required the strengthening of the 452ft long vessel’s main structural framework, which began on 11 September 2017, Sri Lanka’s navy said in a statement on Saturday.

The team of divers also erected an artificial side to the ship in order to seal an area before “dewatering” it to recover lost buoyancy.

Prior to the ship’s refloat, the damaged sunken vessel was used as a pier for other naval ships in the harbour.

Image copyrightSri Lanka Navy
Image caption The British Royal Navy ship the SS Sagaing before the Japanese bombing