The late 1980s through the early and into the 1990s was a time of unrest throughout China. The June Fourth incident commonly known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred as part of the Democracy movement. Beijing Students calling for freedom of press and freedom of speech were forcibly suppressed through martial law culminating in the death of several hundred peaceful demonstrators.
During this time of turmoil an 189 feet long, 30 feet wide Yun Fong Seong No. 303 cargo ship crept into Hawaii. After multiple attempts to hail the ship were ignored, the harbor master made the largest seizure of illegal Chinese immigrants on record. Although the captain was never caught, five crew members were given various jail terms for smuggling 93 people into the country.
In 1993 the justice department sold Yun Fong Seong No. 303 to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society at auction for $40,000.00 dollars. Sea Shepherd planned use the ship for enforcing the United Nations Global Drift Net ban endorsed December 21st 1991, by helping to eliminate curtain of death fishing. These invisible nets are 30 miles wide, 50 feet deep, and kill everything including whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, tuna and sea birds. Unfortunately Sea Shepherds plans did not come together and Yun Fong Seong No. 303 became the Sea Tiger when purchased by a Vietnamese Fisherman, who renamed it.
After several severe fines by Coast Guard inspectors, for continually leaking oil and fuel into Honolulu Harbor, Sea tiger was abandoned at Pier 40. The State planned to tow the Sea Tiger 12 miles out to sea and sink it were abandoned when Voyager Submarines purchased the vessel for $1.00 in 1997. After two years of paperwork and $250,000.00 in cleanup the Sea Tiger was laid to rest in 123 feet of water.
Scuba Divers and free-divers visit the deepest recreational ship wreck in Honolulu, every day. It is exhilarating to explore its cargo holds, inner cabins and engine room in addition to abundant marine life. During my advanced open water training, upon reaching the main deck at 90 feet, we were greeted by a spotted eagle ray and biggest green sea turtles I have seen to date.
Scuba dive the Sea Tiger and explore a Hawaiian shipwreck rich in history and the splendor of a beautiful reef in the making.