The USAT Liberty is a United States Army cargo ship built in 1918. Ordered in 1918 by the United State Shipping Board, this 1037 class ship served in the First World War. It was also used as an animal transport for the US Navy under the name USS Liberty. Torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942, it was run aground on the island of Bali. Following the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, the ship was pushed off the beach and became a popular diving site : USAT Liberty shipwreck.
The history of USAT Liberty :
As mentioned earlier, the USAT Liberty was hit by a Japanese torpedo and was then stranded on the island of Bali near Tulamben. The eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 then caused earthquakes that caused the Liberty wreck to slide into the ocean. It is now on a sandy slope between 9 and 30 metres deep. The wreck is about 130 metres long, with the shallowest part starting at 5 metres and the deepest part at about 30 metres. The Liberty is lying on its right side. The deck is vertical on the seaside. The bow to the west and the stern to the east with the huge rudder still present. In addition, one of the two cannons still visible on its turret at the front of the ship can be seen between 20 and 24 metres below the surface.
Today, the USAT Liberty lies in waters with pleasant temperatures all year round in Bali that range from 24 to 29 degrees centigrade most of the year. It is one of the most popular attractions for divers who come from all over the world to visit this remarkable site. Its main strength is that it welcomes all levels of divers by day and night due to the easy accessibility of the wreck.
The species on the Liberty Wreck :
Around the Liberty wreck, you can see many exotic fish species. Among them, you may have the chance to see great barracuda, Napoleon or humphead wrasse, sunfish or the scrawled filefish. There are also some common reef fish in the Bali region such as coral trout or peacock grouper. In addition, near the seaside you can spot red mullets or a colony of spotted garden eels. But there are also humphead parroto, schools of jacks, leaf scorpionfish, pygmy seahorses, frog fish, batfish, angelfish, eagle rays… If you are very lucky, you could even meet blacktip or whitetip reef sharks or even a whale shark.
For the adventurous who will night dive on the Liberty wreck to observe the nocturnal sea creatures, you can see an innumerable quantity of shrimp among the corals. You can also see the common tassled scorpionfish and the dwarf lionfish. There will also certainly be humphead parrotfish taking refuge in the wreck for the night, as well as barracuda, grouper and red snapper hunting using the light from your dive light. If you are part of the lucky team you will see a big turtle that often sleeps in the back of the wreck. There are certainly many other interesting, strange and wonderful things to see when swimming around the wreck during the night…
Level to dive on the Liberty Wreck :
The site is accessible at all levels. From first time divers around the shallow parts of the wreck to advanced courses with specialties in deep, wreck or night diving! Moreover, if you want to pass a diving level at the USAT Liberty, follow this link : https://balifabdive.com/.
Tip: Get in the water early in the morning, around 6:30am/7am or late afternoon to avoid crowds of divers. You can also dive very well at night !