SS Worcestershire (
Amidst the hunters and the hunted of the deep...

By Dharshana Jayawardena.

Depth: 57 Meters (Technical Decompression Dive)

Archive picture of the Worcestershire from

At the stern - the stern profile fits archived pictures (EXP4)
Expedition 22 - The end of the story!
The Bell SS Worcestershire
The bell of the ship with the name of the ship.
SS Worcestershire
A grea day for the great find! Fantastic March visibility

12/03/2014 - is happy to announce the recovery of the bell of the long lost SS Worcestershire. The bell was found by Editor & Underwater Photographer Dharshana Jayawardena while exploring the ship on a 100 minute technical dive yesterday. The ship lies at 57 meters of depth and is a great place to observe marine life. The bell will be handed over to the Sri Lanka Maritime Archeological Unit (MAU) based in the Galle Fort and funded by the Central Cultural Fund for safe keeping and probably will be placed in a museum as soon as preservation process is complete.

The SS Worcestershire was sunk by sea mines laid by the infamous German Raider SMS Wolf on the 17th of February 1917 during the height of World War I. The legendary journey of the SMS Wolf is aptly described in the great work of non-fiction "The Wolf" by Richard Guilliat & Peter Hohnen.

This concludes over 2 years of work searching for the ship and another 2 years of exploration looking for the ultimate proof that this is the
SS Worcestershire. To date, a total of 22 Technical deep dives were conducted (including 15 Solo Dives) to explore the ship, photograph key features, measure it and look for proof of identity.

Expedition 21 - Exploring the power plant
Fish on the hull
Looking aft from the engine - debris and fish life
Triple Expansion Steam Engine
The massive Quadraple Expansion Engine of the SSW
15/02/2014 - Further exploration of this British Armed Merchant Navy steam ship focusing on the power plant, a twin screw propeller engine.
Expedition 16-17
03/11/2013-08/11/2013 - We explore and photograph the intriguing stern side of the SS Worcestershire.
SS Worcetershire Stern SS Worcetershire Stern
SS Worcestershire Rudder SS Worcestershire Gun Mount
Subsequent Expeditions in 2013 - Exp 9 to 12

Sixth to Seventh Expedition (EXP6 and EXP7) in 2013 - A new debris field discovered

05/01/13 and 13/01/2013 - In two more Tec Dives to 57 meters we discover a new debris field amidships portside! See pictures below


In the hull
Debris field

Fifth Expeditions (EXP5) in 2012 - Measurements provide strong circustancial evidence that B2633 is the SS Worcestershire!

13/03/2012 - It was a mission with a singular purpose. A Tec Dive to 57 meters to measure the beam at amidships of the mysterious wreck we found last year after two years of search around the last known location of the SS Worcestershire. The water was clear blue and the fish life was amazing. Three massive Giant Trevally circle us with great curiosity. It is difficult not to get distracted and watch them and the other hundreds of Big Eye Trevally that shoal around wreck.

We swim towards amidships and measure the ship at two locations to eliminate any measuring error. Over the years (almost 100 years in the water) must have distorted the ship. We never expected the measurement to be spot on if at all. It did not. Later when we measured the reel; both measurements turned out an average 56 feet! That is just 1.1 feet off from the Worcestershire's beam length! Given this, the proximity of the last known location, the size of the ship, the deterioration under sea and similarity of certain parts of the ship we can confirm that this is the long lost merchant ship SS Worcestershire! (See the press release on the confirmation)

Two measurements were made of the beam at amidships

The moment of elation! Just one foot off the beam of SSW!

Fourth Expedition (EXP4) in 2012

02/03/2012: Based on our previous dives and historical accounts and the size of the ship this wreck appears to be the SS Worcestershire which was sunk somewhere 10 miles south west of Colombo in 1917 by German mine layer Wolf. The ship was an armed merchant en route from Rangoon to London when it suffered this fatality. It is said that 2 crew members were lost in the incident.

Today we dive the ship again in the hope of photographing key features that may prove this to be the SS Worcestershire. We swim all the way from the Bow to the Stern! It is a huge distance and consumes almost all of our 20 minutes bottom time. at 57 Meters. We quickly photograph key features. However the ship is in a bad state of deterioration. The size of the ship certainly matches the Worcestershire and if indeed it has been lying for almost 95 years undersea, then this could explain why the most of the ship is completely gone. The stern side of the ship certainly bears a strong resemblance to the Worcestershire and the next expedition will aim to measure the hull width and draft of this huge ship.

First to Third Expeditions (EXP1 - EXP3) in 2011

03/04/11: After two years of arduous search for its location we had found the Hermes of the West Coast!

As usual the wreck marked on the admiralty charts were way off. But two years later tenacity and a fish finder had finally unraveled the deep grave of this mysterious ship we call B2633. A name denoting its depth as measured in local dialect.

As always, a first glimpse of a deep ship is bone chilling thrilling. As narcosis envelops your senses what seem to be a large and hazy shadow slowly develops details. Then, at 50 meters we are at the ship and in a strange, deep, lush paradise seen by few.

As we swim over the hull and slowly descend to 57 meters of maximum depth on the port side of the ship and near the bow, shoals of fish envelop us. Gray Snappers, Yellow Fin Trevally, Giant Trevally and Groupers surround us. This is a true wilderness rarely disturbed by man.

Dived by aquarium fish collectors over 15 years ago this ship has hitherto been forgotten and un dived for decades. We are the first on location after years and the first to photograph this ship in its all its derelict glory.

We swim towards the stern. The ship is largely broken up in side; though maintaining its ship shape on the exterior. Its almost bowl shaped. Here large shoals of Yellow fin Trevally descend on the bowl to escape the marauding Giant Trevally. The soft coral growth is prolific. However its all devoid of color at this depth everything looks so gray.

We swim about 7 min's towards the stern and arrive at amidships. We still cannot see an end to the ship. However now its time to go back and find refuge in the anchor line. A moderate current pushes us back towards the stern as we swim arduously towards the bow.

As we ascend up the anchor line to our first deep stop, a school of pick handle barracuda surround us! What a magnificent sight. As we rise, they swim below us in a vortex and disappear from sight.

The hanging has begun and a long spell of decompression is now on us for the next seventy five minutes.

It seems that this ship has already cast its spell over us, for as we hover above its vague shadow again, we are already planning the next dive in our elated minds.

B2633. We will return to your fold again.

A shoal of Trevally seeking to escape attacking predators... (EXP1)

The upright bow (EXP1)

A school of Longfin Bannerfish race towards the stern (EXP1)

Port side near the bow (EXP1)

Stern (EXP3-4)
Probably part of the stern mounted gun base (EXP3-4)

Swimming towards the stern. The hull of the ship

The bridge

On the way to the stern (EXP2)

Amidships object (EXP2)

Railings and port holes (EXP2)

The bow (EXP1) - The first picture taken of the SSW after it sank!

Shoal of Trevally (EXP1)

Trevally! (EXP1)

A dumbfounded family of three groupers are surprised by our arrival!

The Pickhandle Barracuda circle us as we ascend.


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