Labuan Island - The Federal Territory of Malaysia
Labuan island is located 115 km south of
Kota Kinabalu and 8km off the mainland of Sabah at the northern
mouth of Brunei. Its deep harbour and duty free port attract
shipping from all over the world and in 1990, Labuan was
declared the International Offshore Finance Centre of Malaysia.
It’s history which has always been intimately entwined with
maritime traffic, begun over three centuries ago with the first
commercial transactions between Chinese junk ownders and the
Sultan of Brunei. Since then, Britain and other countries have
used Labuan as a trading and fuel station and then during World
War II, Labuan was the scene of bitter conflicts between the
Japanese and Allied air and Naval forces. Although three islands
– Pulau Kumaran, Pulau Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Rusukan Besar are
designated as Marine Parks, the special underwater attractions
of Labuan are its shipwrecks.
Four well researched and regularly dived wrecks to the southwest
make this area “the wreck diving center of Malaysia”. Two of the
wrecks are from World War II, the US Navy minehunter, USS Salure
known as the “American Wreck” and the Dutch vessel SS De Klerk
known as the “Australian Wreck”, which was thought to been sunk
by the Royal Australian Air Force.
The other two wrecks were sunk in the 1980’s, the Philippine
stern trawler MV Mabini Padre, locally called the “Blue Water
Wreck” and the Tung Hwang, a Japanese freighter locally known as
the “Cement Wreck”. All four ships lie in 30m-35m of water, with
the top portions between 8m-12m. The water visibility varies
greatly season to season from 6m-20m.
The type of diving on these wrecks ranges from novice to
experienced wreck diving with penetrations possible into the
hulls. Diving the wrecks can be arranged through Borneo Divers &
Sea Sports (SABAH) Sdn Bhd who have a PADI 5-Star Dive Centre
located at Labuan. Here they run PADI courses from Discover
Scuba to Divemaster also catering for TDI Nitrox and Advanced
Wreck Diving courses
Courtesy of Sabah Tourism and Tourism Malaysia.