The A522 vessel was a ship initially owned by a Singapore fishing line that was then taken into possession by the LTTE terrorists, following which it was nicknamed the ‘We Ling’. Unlike other ships, this sunken craft was special, as it was carrying eight bullet-proof VIP vehicles, hence the origin of the name “The VIP Wreck”. The vehicles included a BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Defender, which were all used by ex-presidents of Sri Lanka during the period of war.

These cars, which were termed “too strong to be crushed” due to their sturdy build and nature, were also unable to be auctioned off as they could have been extremely dangerous had they fallen into the wrong hands.

So, with no other purpose to be served, the vehicles were latched onto the A522 and were sunk 25m deep into the ocean on the 26th of March 2018. Thus, the ‘We Ling’ (A522 ship) rests on the sea bed, sunk just 15 km off the coast of Negombo under the observation of the Sri Lankan Navy.

Here it lies today, 62m in length, bubbling with life. The skeleton of the ship and vehicles turned into an artificial reef with coral structures forming on the decaying wreck with time. This reef has created a safe and homely environment, attracting schools of exotic and colorful marine life and creating nurseries of fish such as Lionfish, Sting Rays, Marble Sting Rays, Groupers, and even Lobsters.

This spectacular view makes it a friendly attraction for many, perfect for those searching for an adventurous holiday with either family or friends. A day spent in the ocean among eye-catching coral reefs and colourful sceneries of schools of fish will not only give you a relaxing and exciting feeling but it will also help you tick off spending an exploratory day in the ocean off of your bucket list.

In addition to being an attraction to divers, the schools of fish at the site create an attraction for many fishermen, for which reason it should be protected at all costs. Extreme fishing conditions in these waters could harm the ecosystem that is still in the process of being established at the site of the wreck. Fishing methods such as dynamite fishing and using improper fishing nets can result in overfishing at the wreck by fishing fish fry (baby fish) in addition to adult fish. The nets which could tangle up among the corals can also cause damage to the site, which is why particular regard should be paid to such activities to preserve the wreck for future generations and to protect its developing marine life from any possible form of harm.

Accessing this VIP Wreck diving site at Negombo can be easily done by contacting the Colombo Divers Company, whose teams of expert divers will ensure you leave the site with not only a day well spent but also with mesmerizing memories.

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