Aircraft carrier “Hermes” / Sri Lanka

The British aircraft-carrier “Hermes” was the first in the world aircraft-carrier of special construction. The laying of the ship was started in 1918, but she was operable only in 1923. The length of “Hermes” is 181m/593ft and tonnage is 11000tn. During the period between two World Wars she served in the south-eastern Asia – Hong Kong, Philippines and Ceylon Island.
With the beginning of the World War II she fought against German submarines in the Atlantic Ocean. Until 1942 the vessel was dislocated to Ceylon Island military base in Trinkomale in Sri Lanka. On the fatal day of the ninth of April 1942 she was under maintenance in Trikomale Bay.
On receiving the message about the approach of Japanese aircrafts, “Hermes” has left the port but on the way back she was noticed by the reconnaissance plane and attacked near the coast of Batticaloa. Experiencing the lack of onboard planes, the aircraft-carrier “Hermes” became an easy prey for 70 bombers. Received 40 hits she sunk, carrying away 307 crew members. The escort vessels – cruiser and corvette were also sunken.
The ship lies on the left board at 52m/170ft depth. Not many aircraft-careers have sunken at such shallow waters. The fact that she was sunken during a battle operation makes the wreck even more unique and fascinating.
As any other sunken vessel, “Hermes” has become a home for numerous marine dwellers.The absence of fishing and rare divers’ visits caused the abundance of fish around “Hermes”. That’s why divers can admire the beauty of marine life on the ship.

Location: Eastern coast of Sri Lanka, not far from Batticaloa

What to see: Corals, barracudas, groupers, rays, tunas, jacks, crabs, nudibranchs, snappers etc.

Depth: max 52m/170ft

Currents: 1-2knots

Visibility: 20-30m/65-98ft

Season for diving: The coastal areas are available all year round. The average water temperature is 24-26C/75-78F


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