As you might already know, I was in Thailand during the late August.
We crossed the border from Cambodia and we stayed in a nice island called Koh Chang. There, during one of our motorcycle trip around the island, I caught a glimpse of an enormous boat decked at the end of a lonely pier somewhere at the northern tip of the island.
Next day, I waited for my mate to take a nap and I rent a scooter with the hope of sneaking into the boat.
I arrived there and the place was really empty I parked my ride on the side of the road and walked to the pier. I had to cross the 300 meter pier to get to the boat, out in the open, my biggest fear was to be seen and get in trouble with the local police. I managed to be as stealth as I could crossing the pier to finally stumble across an old fishermen which didn’t look surprised to see me. Way to go Ninja!! ;D
I quickly spotted an old rusty and twisted ladder which got me on the main deck of the boat. The place was sooo big. I managed to take my flashlight out and took a stairs that led me to the command bridge, the boat had been stripped out of his armament and electronics but I was surprisingly happy to found that the chart room was still full of some old Navy Maps dating from the Vietnam War.
I spend most of the remaining hours of the day in the boat and visited 4 of the 7 decks. But as I was on my own and judging from the state of the place I wasn’t reckless enough to go very deep in the belly of the ship. The ambiance was really creepy, pitch black rooms, very thin hallways, rusted floors and dripping roofs, flooded decks, not to mention the sound of the waves rumbling trough the metal carapace of the ship.
USS Lincoln County LST-898
As my later Internet researches told me, the boat is an American Tank Landing ship. Built in mid 1944 in Pennsylvania she (It looks like you have to refer to a boat as a “she”, strange fact isn’t it?) was send in the pacific to help in the invasion of the imperial Japan at Okinawa.
She was then involved in the Korean War and participated in the famous Inchon Invasion the 15th September of 1950.
After that she was assigned to the Arctic Ocean and made few trips in the Western Pacific till she was decommissioned on March 1961.
After serving the Navy during two wars and for more than 16 years, Lincoln County was sold to the government of Thailand under the terms of the Military Assistance Program. Se was renamed Chang LST-2 and remained active in the Royal Thai Navy till 2006.
The Boat was then turned over the island of Koh Chang in mid 2012 to be sunk near the island.
As for now the sinking hasn’t happened yet but is scheduled for the beginning of December.
After serving in Three major conflict, the old Lincoln County will be laid to rest at the bottom of the ocean and will become the largest diving wreck of Thailand. What a hell of an attraction!
Archive photography of the glory days of The USS Lincoln County.
Towing of the rusted Chang LST-2.
My vision of the boat on this gray afternoon.
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One the seat of the crow’s nest close to the flying bridge.
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