History of the Sea Tiger

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CaptFlyingDutchman

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The Sea Tiger did not go down with pirate treasure, or in the storm of the century, or attacked by kamikazes, this intentional wreck peacefully slipped underneath the waves. The history of how our simple Sea Tiger became a wreck is quite interesting. I found this 1999 article in the local newspaper.

On February, 1992 it was know as the Yun Fong Seong No. 303 when it was carrying 93 illegal Chinese immigrants. Harbor master was trying to hail the ship but there was no answer, just the vessel barreling to the pier. There was one harbor police officer to handle the 90 + illegal aliens. They did not resist.

The five crew members severed various prison terms in what immigration officials called Hawaii's largest seizure of illegal immigrates. The Justice Department seized the Yun Fong Seong No. 303 and sold it at auction in the first of several ownerships.

One guy bought it at auction for $1, took one look at it and then abandoned it. No one ever saw him again. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society bought the ship for $40,000 in 1992 and planned to use it to harass and ram fishing vessels that lay drift nets. The Yun Fong Seong No. 303 was to be renamed UN Resolution 42/216, after the United Nation resolution that bans drift nets. The society's plan fell through and the Yun Fong Seong No. 303 ended up with a Vietnamese fisherman who renamed it the Sea Tiger.

He sold it in 1994 to a man who frustrated environmental and Coast Guard inspectors because the Sea Tiger kept leaking oil and fuel into Honolulu Harbor. With all the problems it lay still at Pier 40. The state was planning to tow the Sea Tiger 12 miles out to sea and drop it.

This was until Voyager Submarines bought it for $1. It took Voyager two years of paperwork and $250,000 in cleanup and preparation costs to get all the approvals from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, health department, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Army Corp of Engineers. They spent $100,000 getting rid of the last 100 gallons of fuel and oil.

Does anyone else have any other stories or photos to add ?
 

rockjock3

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First, how does a 1990 article talk about things in the future (1992)?

Second. The story sounds about right. I have actually talked to (name not posted) at the DLNR who was actually the project manager for the sinking of the Sea Tiger. Although the submarine company sank it he processed the paperwork as they submitted it and oversaw the process as it proceeded. This is pretty much how he told me it processed through from the time time it was seized by the authorities. He said they have a several files on it at their archive with more information than you could ever want. That is if you wanted more information on specific details.
 
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CaptFlyingDutchman

CaptFlyingDutchman

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First, how does a 1990 article talk about things in the future (1992)?


Thanks for catching the mistake. It has been corrected.

More info would be good. Some photos of the Sea Tiger before it was sunk or during the sinking would be awesome:eyebrow:.
 

fishb0y

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rockjock3

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Thanks for catching the mistake. It has been corrected.

More info would be good. Some photos of the Sea Tiger before it was sunk or during the sinking would be awesome:eyebrow:.

I bet that folder would have a few. I never went down to look at it (he said if somebody wants to they can - they just have to call and set up a time with him).
 

Kevrumbo

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Good Article and history. As sentimental as I am about the Sea Tiger (got my first real wreck penetration training on it with Jo Hjelm as Instructor), it simply doesn't match the history and awe of three weeks diving the Wrecks of Truk Lagoon (just came back, pictures here).

Almost decided to stay & dive with y'all for a few days on the Honolulu Stopover last week, on the way back from Chuuk/Guam --but I had nothing left in the Travel Budget. . . (Sorry Catherine, will try to visit next time!:( ).

Here's an engine and room picture from my trip that makes the Sea Tiger's look like a go-cart motor:
 

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back2deepblue

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Thanks CaptFD....very interesting story, it certainly adds to the appeal of a wreck to know its history.
 

crash141

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I dove the Sea Tiger last november. I loved it. I hope to do it again next time I come out to Hawaii
 

Aloha Joe

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I know this thread is old. Diving the Sea Tiger is still very relevant - it seems to be one of the more famous local wrecks. Being a relatively new diver and (still) doing lots of training around the Sea Tiger I felt it was worth adding to the thread. For me, it's nice to get some more details about the history, and I particularly like seeing the photos of the ship afloat. It will make my next dives around it that much more interesting. Diving my specialty courses around the Sea Tiger is also encouraging me to pay more attention to it, hence doing some research and finding this thread.

Last week there was some discussion about the origins of the boat. The story is that it was used to transport illegal Chinese immigrants, but someone said the boat may have had a Japanese origin.

Today, I believe the Sea Tiger has a joint ownership: Captain Giant Sea Turtle is often found lounging outside on the deck. The vessel is under regular surveillance by the Spotted Eagle Ray squadron, and guarded at night by the Lone Reef Sharks. Apparently someone hired a chimney sweep to scrub the smoke stacks - I've descended upon a moray eel in there on more than one occasion.

I found some Sea Tiger (afloat) pics from this website: H20doctor Diving Vacation On Oahu - Page 2 - Northwest Dive Club
(Edit: of course I missed these photos in the small thumbnails above :( ).


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