Huge World War II shipwreck raised from the depths in massive salvage operation

A massive World War II shipwreck has been raised from the bottom of a harbor in Sri Lanka 75 years after the vessel was sunk following an attack by Japanese forces.

The SS Saigang, a British passenger and cargo ship, was hit by Japanese bomber attacks on April 9, 1942, while at anchor in Trincomalee harbor. With fires raging, the ship was abandoned. On August 24, 1943, the damaged vessel was deliberately sunk in 35 feet of water to create a pier for naval ships.

Authorities in Sri Lanka, however, have decided to move the wreck to create more space in the harbor.

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After a five-month operation, the huge 453-foot hull was recently raised by Sri Lanka’s Navy. As part of the mammoth salvage effort, Navy divers worked to restore damage on the rusted hull and strengthen the ship’s structure. Divers even installed an artificial side to the vessel as part of an effort to recover lost buoyancy by “dewatering” the ship, according to a Sri Lankan Navy statement.

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The Sri Lankan Navy divers deployed 98 divers on the ambitious salvage operation (Sri Lanka Navy)

The ship started its ascent to the surface on March 22. News 1st reports that after being towed to the sea off Trincomalee, the wreck was sunk again on Friday as part of an effort to preserve it.

Launched in 1924, the merchant ship was used to transport passengers and goods between the U.K. and Burma, according to the Wrecksite website. On the day of the Japanese attack, the Saigang was transporting aircraft and ammunition for the allied war effort, most of which was saved.

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The Saigang is just the latest shipwreck to grab the headlines. Last month, for example, the wreck of the USS Juneau, which was sunk by a Japanese torpedo with the loss 687 sailors in 1942, was discovered by billionaire Paul Allen’s crew.

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The SS Saigang (Sri Lanka Navy)

Beachgoers in Florida recently discovered the “holy grail of shipwrecks” after the remains of an 18th century ship washed up on Ponte Vedra Beach. Shipwreck hunters also say they've found the remains of a schooner that sank in Lake Michigan in 1873.

Fox News’ Madeline Farber and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers