The MV Seven Skies was a Swedish tanker that sank under mysterious circumstances in 1969, after only 3 years in service (built 1966). She was heading from Japan to Indonesia in ballast on a calm, clear morning when various members of the crew conflictingly reported either an impact or a series of explosions. The ship went down quickly, sinking in only 15 minutes and leaving 4 crew members dead, while the remaining 32 crew were rescued by other vessels.
In a report shortly after the incident, it was suggested that the ship had collided with an unknown submarine running at periscope depth. Alternative theories have suggested that the explosions were caused intentionally as part of an insurance scam. However both these theories seem less than credible- the Seven Skies went down in a busy shipping lane and other vessels were onsite almost immediately, and none reported seeing another vessel or wreckage from an impact. Similarly she was insured for 50m Kroner vs an estimated value of 45-60m Kroner, providing little financial incentive to stage a sinking that killed 4 people.
Perhaps the most credible explanation is that explosive vapour had built up from oil residue in the empty holds, and was accidentally ignited by one of the crew who had reportedly just started welding on deck immediately prior to the explosion. Empty tankers may be more prone to risk of explosion due to difficulty completely cleaning the tanks.
In addition to its interest as a wreck diving site, the Seven Skies also acts as an artificial pinnacle rising from the sea floor, and is well known locally for attracting marine life. Particularly in Apr & Sep-Oct it is common to see whale sharks and manta rays swimming around near the top of the wreck, and during these times the dive site will often be busy with liveaboards who have come in search of pelagics.
|Name:||MV Seven Skies|
|Tonnage:||97,950 DWT; 56,623 GRT|
|Max Speed:||16 knots|
|Sinking Date:||Oct 1969|
|Max Depth:||62m to bottom|
|Min Depth:||22m to top of funnel|
|Orientation:||upright, heading 80 degrees|