Wreck of the Black Dragon or
Hueg Ryong Pusan No. 705
Image courtesy of: dcsfilms.com
Location: Off Cordova Point near Victoria BC
Type: Technical, boat, and drift dive
GPS: 48° 29' 9.30", 123° 15' 18.84"
History: A Korean freezer/packer vessel used for drift-net fishing out of China. On August 11, 1999 Captain Chong-Um Kim dumped his cargo of 130+ immigrants near the uninhabited Kunghit Island in the Queen Charlottes. While the Fujian immigrants were forced to swim ashore in the frigid waters, Kim attempted to out run the Canadian Coast Guard to the 12 mile limit. He failed, and he and his 8 crew-members were taken into custody, later claiming that the boat was hijacked by Chinese smugglers called "Snakeheads" who forced him to take the immigrants to Canada. Kim stated to the authorities that the Snakeheads threatened to kill his family if he did not cooperate with them. The crew-members were later acquitted. Of the 130+ immigrants, a few had hypothermia, four went missing on the island (later found), and one was unaccounted for and presumed dead.
The federal government gained control of the Black Dragon, and then sold it in the year 2000 to the Port Alberni Artificial Reef Society for one dollar. It was to be sunk along with the other 3 immigrant boats that arrived in Canada from July to September 1999. The Dragon was set aside because it was the only one in relatively good condition, while the others were immediately cleaned in preparation for sinking.
Unfortunately, the Black Dragon was sold off, due to a lack of funding, to Guy and Chuck Polkinghorne for a dollar once again. The brothers illegally moored the vessel in Mayne Bay where it sank once in November 2003 in 120 ft. of water. It was raised out of from the mud on December 7, 2003 and the brothers decided to have it towed to a salvage yard in Ladysmith B.C.
On December 9, 2003, in tow to Ladysmith, the Black Dragon took on water and sank.
Above Water: This wreck is in open water, and there are no land marks above water to help find this wreck. GPS and a depth sounder is the only way to find it.
Underwater: The Black Dragon is a 140 ft. (42 m.) long freighter. The superstructure is fairly intact, however a great deal of its deck rails and rigging have collapsed. It now lies in 150 ft. (45 m.) of water. The internal holds are accessible but much of the internal structure is beginning to cave in. The main hold is filled with the remnants of the bunks and wire mattresses that the immigrants slept on. There is a considerable amount of growth on the wreck due to the high currents in the area, as well as a large population of rockfish that inhabit the internal structure of the ship.
Hazards: Current, boat traffic, depth, weather, visibility, overhead environment.
Tides and Currents: www.bigwavedave.ca
Dive Charter Operators