Sign the petition!
Add your name to the list of people who would like to save the wreck:
We will not contact you or use your e-mail address other than to give it as part of a petition to Aquaventures dive centre in Baltimore to use to help save the Kowloon Bridge
One of worlds best wrecks under threat! Kowloon Bridge to be destroyed for salvage
Help Save the Kowloon Bridge!
Imagine a wreck 35 times the weight of the Thistlegorm that starts at a depth of 6 metres with the seabed at 36m. The wreck is so massive it would take tens of dives to get around it and many, many more to get to know it intimately. Every surface is decorated with anemones and encrusting sealife. Like flies, fish swarm around and in it and the variety of life is inspiring.
This dive is not imaginary, but exists in Baltimore, SW Ireland and is the wreck of the Kowloon Bridge. The Kowloon Bridge is a 300 metre long bulk carrier weighing in at a massive 169,080 tons. It sank in November 1986 carrying a cargo of valuable iron ore, worth millions of pounds. The stern of the Kowloon Bridge is now well broken up but the bow remains more-or-less intact and is a stunning sight to behold looking up from the seabed. The forward cargo hold is immense and you could easily spend a whole dive exploring this alone with its millions of spheres of iron ore and diverse marine inhabitants. 15m of vis not uncommon on the wreck, allowing you to stare up at the sheer walls of the cargo hold, smothered with plumose anemones and dead men's fingers. Wrasse and pollack dart across the wreck and more unusual fish such as ling and anglerfish have made it there home. At the stern end of the forward cargo hold there is a series of huge rooms that offer the chance of some simple penetration. A 6 metre long anchor can be found slightly further round from here, still attached by its chain to the side of the wreck. All in all, this is a breathtaking wreck dive but it is under serious threat.
The precious iron ore cargo has caused a number of people to buy the ownership rights to the wreck, all with the intention to salvage both the cargo and the steel that makes up the ship. In August 2005* a new owner bought the rights to the wreck and the hope amongst divers was that this would be yet another buyer who failed to gain from their purchase. These hopes are waning as this August (2006) they have been mapping its exact position using sonar. The new owner allegedly intends to sample the steel and ore from the wreck in order to get a precise evaluation of what the Kowloon Bridge is worth. His plan is then to cut up the wreck, raise it in sections and suction up the iron ore from the sea floor.
If this salvage goes ahead, it will be a massive loss to divers visiting the area, and to the diving community as a whole due to it being such a unique dive. Indeed, the dive centres in Baltimore may even find they have far fewer bookings as people have less reason to pick their stretch of coastline for a holiday. Of main consideration however is how destructive it will be to the life it supports. Some of the fish may be able to flee the destruction but the fixed growth will have no chance of survival. Also contained within the bunker are unknown volumes of fuel, some of which still occasionally leaks out today. In fact when the Kowloon Bridge first sank it caused huge damage to birds, seals and other marine life when it smothered 10 miles of coastline in oil that was still being washed up two years later. This cannot be allowed to happen again, 20 years on.
Thanks to Tracey Floyd for contributing this information and to Dan Begent for building the database to hold the rapidly expanding list of names!
How Can I Help Save the Kowloon Bridge?
We started the petition to help Aquaventures, Baltimore’s dive centre, raise awareness of the Kowloon Bridge salvage.
Please leave your name and e-mail address with us and we will pass them on as part of a petition to Aquaventures who will use them to put pressure on the relevant government agencies and have more leverage locally.
- We will not contact you or use your e-mail address other than to give it as part of a petition to Aquaventures dive centre in Baltimore
- The Kowloon Bridge is an amazing wreck dive that is an asset to divers globally
- It supports a diverse, rich marine ecosystem
- Please forward this link to all divers you know and help us to make a difference!
* We were given this information when inquiring about the wreck whilst diving in Baltimore, we have recently been contacted by someone who works in the salvage industry who has said the wreck is still under it's original ownership. We are currently trying to confirm this information.