Diving in Tulamben: See The Beauty of its Underwater Shipwreck - Full Pack Scuba Diving Bali | Best Dive Center Bali

Diving in Tulamben: See The Beauty of its Underwater Shipwreck

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In the 1970s, the wreck of the Liberty was discovered by Tulamben’s residents. This wreck is located 25 meters from the coast. The highest point of this wreck is at a depth of 5 meters; meanwhile, the lowest point is at a depth of 30 meters. From there, this wreck became famous among divers.

Many shipwrecks with beautiful views scattered throughout Indonesian maritime are favorite diving spots. But the beauty that the Liberty Wreck has to offer hidden in the waters of Tulamben has its charm.

Please don’t close this tab and read the information until the end to get more details on the Liberty Wreck and the beauty it has to offer! 


The USAT Liberty sunk in Tulamben, the first ship built by the Federal Shipbuilding of New Jersey, was a United States Army cargo ship.


The Liberty was launched by Federal Shipbuilding Kearny, New Jersey, on 19 June 1918. The ship was acquired by the United States Navy on 7 October 1918 and commissioned on the same day as the United States shipping board in World War I. Its first assignment was to transport horses from New York on 24 October 1918 and arrive in France on 8 November 1918. Over the next six months, this ship made two additional voyages carrying general cargo and live animals. Its last assignment before decommissioning was to transport 436 tonnes of United States Army cargo and 2,072 tonnes of steel rails. This ship arrived in Virginia after its final voyage on 30 April 1919. This ship was officially decommissioned on 7 May 1919 and returned to the United States Shipping Board on the same day.


The Liberty, decommissioned on 7 May 1919, was still sailing before being used in World War II. But unfortunately, this ship had collided two times with other boats. First, this ship collided with the French tug Dogue in the Seine-Maritime, France, on 20 October 1929, which caused the Dogue to sink and lose two crew members. The second time, this ship collided with the American cargo ship Ohioan in Ambrose Channel, New York, on 23 November 23, 1933, which caused the Ohioan ship to be stranded near West Bank Light. After these two collisions, the Liberty was still able to survive.


At the start of World War II, in 1939, the Liberty, still owned by the United States Maritime Commission, was employed by the Southgate-Nelson Corporation of Norfolk, Virginia, the operator of several packet lines. Later in November 1940, this ship was taken over by the United States Army for defense service. This ship was armed with two cannons, a large caliber at the bow and a small caliber at the stern. Initially, when the United States entered World War II in December 1941, this ship served in the Pacific. But unfortunately, on 11 January 1942, this ship, on its way from Australia to the Philippines with railway parts and rubber, was hit by two torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-66 about ten nautical miles (19 km) southwest of the Lombok Strait, near the position 08°54′S 115°28′E. Fortunately, this ship that two torpedoes had hit managed to survive and not sink.

The US destroyer Paul Jones and the Dutch destroyer Van Ghent attempted to take the damaged Liberty to Celukan Bawang Harbor in Singaraja, a Dutch port and administrative center for the Lesser Sunda Islands, on the northern coast of Bali. But again, unfortunately, this ship had swallowed a lot of water, so it was stranded on the east coast of Bali in Tulamben. At least the cargo and equipment could be saved.


The Liberty was stranded on the east coast of Bali for a long time. Later, due to the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, this ship slipped 25 meters from the beach and was at a depth of 5-30 meters. In that depth, this ship that has become a wreck still has charm.


The Liberty Wreck is located not far from the coast, about 25 meters, and has a depth of 5-30 meters, making it one of the easiest to dive shipwrecks in the world. Also, the water current is not too heavy, making it easier for divers to move into the wreck. However, this wreck’s uniqueness lies in the impact that it has been overgrown with various colorful corals and sea animals living among the ruins.


The Liberty Wreck was stranded on the east coast of Bali in Tulamben for a long time. During that time, this ship started to rust, and the paint made to avoid the formation of life sprang to fade little by little from the steel plates so that this wreck began to be overgrown by various corals such as gorgonians of multiple colors. Divers can also find humphead parrotfish, jackfish, groupers, and many other species.


Amid the increasing number of irresponsible divers who visit and touch the Liberty Wreck, the condition of this wreck is getting worse. This reckless driving behavior is something that Dune Bali has consistently campaigned against: do not touch the corals, the fishes, and their homes. We are in the water to experience the underwater world’s beauty, not ruin it. 


The wreck of the Liberty is getting old, plus natural factors such as big waves threaten the sustainability of this wreck. It doesn’t stop there. During the high season for divers, dozens of people can be on this wreck simultaneously, which threatens the sustainability even more. This wreck is now experiencing decay; many parts of the ship have fallen, and parts of the boat are buried by rocks or sand.


If the Liberty Wreck is destroyed, it will impact the loss of marine life, which is the main attraction of Tulamben tourist destination. This hurts the people of Tulamben, whose source of income is usually dependent on the tourism sector. Therefore, local dive guides and the village government discussed various plans to protect this wreck. Ensuring the zoning of conservation and preservation of this wreck site and installing signs for divers is a plan to preserve this wreck.

That is the history and beauty that the Liberty Wreck has to offer. Are you interested in diving in Tulamben? Please give us a holler!