USS Salute (American Wreck)

Labuan, Sabah


This World War II US Navy minesweeper lies around 24 kilometers south of Labuan in roughly 30 meters of water. The USS Salute was built in Seattle, in 1943. It was first put into service in Hawaii in 1944 escorting convoys between Pearl Harbor and several ports in the Far East. Later it was involved in intense action, providing protection for anti-aircraft vessels and submarine, as well as minesweeping. After several minesweeping operations in the Philippines, the ship began operating in Brunei Bay where it struck a mine in 1945. Nine US sailors lost their lives when she sank.

Diving reveals that the stern is relatively intact with depth charge rails on deck and the top blades of the propellers just visible beneath at 30 metres deep. A huge mass looms up which are the bows facing sternwards. Off to starboard of the stern is a third large part of the ship, it is clearly evident how much damage was done by the mine. The wreck can be penetrated but be very careful as she is slowly collapsing and there is live ammunition around.

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