SS President Coolidge Dive Operation For Sale

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SS President Coolidge Dive Operation Vanuatu

For Sale direct access SS President Coolidge wreck dive. This is a once in a life time opportunity to build the only dive resort with the famous Coolidge wreck dive right at your door step.

Located in Espiritu Santo, SS President Coolidge, more commonly known as “The Coolidge”, is one of the most popular wrecks in the world. It is the largest and most accessible wreck as well. The wreck is almost 200 metres long and 25 metres wide, with roughly 50 different dive sites to explore. The ship was originally a luxury steamer with room for over 1,000 people. Although it was not a warship, it was sent into service as a troop carrier. During this time it held 5,342 troops. In October 1942 it was sunk by two US mines. Some famous artifacts within the wreck are the “Lady and the Unicorn”, a porcelain statue. Its customary that all divers kiss the lady while diving the SS President Coolidge! Another fun thing to do is to dive into the underwater swimming pool of the wreck!

Coral Quays Coolidge Dive Operation Vanuatu Is a one of a kind.

History of the President Coolidge

The SS President Coolidge was a luxury passenger steamship built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport, Virginia, in 1931 for the Dollar Steamship Line.

According to historical ship registries found on online database Wrecksite, Coolidge was 615 feet long and had a beam of 81 feet. It had two steam turbines and was capable of reaching speeds up to 20 knots.

Coolidge and its sister ship, the SS President Hoover, were nearly identical. The Takao Club, a website focused on the history and culture of Taiwan (where Hoover ran aground in 1937), says that the ships were capable of carrying 990 passengers and 324 crew. The stately steamer was furnished in an Art Deco style.

Coolidge took passengers from its home port in San Francisco to Hawaii and the Far East. It broke several speed records while traveling the trans-Pacific route.

In June 1938, Coolidge was seized in San Francisco for an unpaid debt of $35,000. A bond was put up so the ship could make one final trip, after which the Dollar Steamship Line was suspended from operation. On August 15, 1938, ownership of the Dollar Steamship Line was given to the government in exchange for clearing the company’s debt. The company’s name was changed to American President Lines on November 1, 1938.

The President Coolidge Goes to War

The ship continued its trans-Pacific route under the American President Lines. But when Japanese-British relations began to deteriorate in 1940, Coolidge was also used to evacuate Americans from Hong Kong and other areas in Asia.

On May 27, 1941, President Roosevelt declared a state of emergency; the ship was taken over by the Maritime Commission and was used to reinforce garrisons in the Pacific as the threat of war loomed.

By January 1942, after delivering wounded from the attack on Pearl Harbor to San Francisco, the Coolidge was fully converted into a troop ship. The ship was painted gray and its fine furnishings were either removed or boarded up. The luxury steamer, originally equipped to handle just under 1,000 passengers, was modified to transport 5,000 troops.

The ship was also outfitted with several guns during its conversion. The official report from the ship’s sinking states that it was outfitted with a single five-inch gun mounted at the stern, four three-inch guns and 12 20mm anti-aircraft guns.

Coolidge’s final destination would be the island of Espirito Santo, New Hebrides (now Vanuatu).

According to the official report, Coolidge was carrying approximately 5,000 army and navy troops and 12,000 tons of government cargo — including trucks, jeeps, artillery guns, ammunition and 519 pounds of quinine — when it arrived within sight Espirito Santo on the morning of October 26, 1942.

This ship would be sitting on the ocean floor a few hours later.

Sinking of the SS President Coolidge

Coolidge’s rendezvous point was within the Segond Channel, which had recently been mined — a vital piece of information that had not been shared with the ship’s captain, Henry Nelson. Worried about a different kind of submerged threat — enemy submarines — Nelson wasted no time setting a course for the channel’s largest and most obvious entrance.

A number of ships tried to warn Coolidge but were not immediately successful. The official report mentions that the SS Santa Ana continuously flashed a warning to the doomed ship, but its signal light was inadequate for daylight communication.

By the time communications officer Ensign Doren S. Weinstein received the Morse code message to “STOP,” it was too late. He relayed the initial warning to the captain and then decoded the rest of the message while the ship attempted to halt. The full message read, “stop you are standing into mines.”

The first explosion rocked the ship at 9:30 a.m. The second explosion occurred 30 seconds later, and the ship immediately began to list to port.

Knowing the ship was lost, Capt. Nelson swung to starboard in an attempt to run the ship aground but struck a coral reef about 100 yards from the northern shore of the channel. A calm, orderly evacuation was soon in motion and lifeboats were lowered into the oil-slicked water. The ship was close to shore and there was little cause to panic; many people even believed they would be able to return later to collect their belongings.

That notion was soon dismissed, as the ship’s list continued to worsen. It became so bad that some of the last evacuees were even able to walk down the starboard side of the ship. Coolidgefinally fell on to its port side and began to rapidly slide off the reef into deeper water. Almost an hour and a half after hitting the mines, Coolidge finally disappeared beneath the surface at 10:53 a.m., according to the official report.

The SS President Coolidge is still an amazing dive

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Updated on March 21, 2023 at 2:49 pm
  • Property Type: Commercial, Tourism
  • Property Status: For Sale

Address

  • City Luganville
  • State/county Espirtu Santo
  • Country Vanuatu

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Matthew Woon
  • Matthew Woon