M.V JOLANDA MARCH 1983 (NOTE THE CORRECT SPELLING!)
EGYPTSâ€™ WRECKS PART 2 SINAI AREA FORWARD by JOHN WOMACK I am John Womack Snr, BSAC First Class Diver, Advanced Instructor & owner of Otter Drysuits in Yorkshire, having dived the Britannic, Prince of Wales, Repulse and the Victoria plus many more over the last 40 years I would not go anywhere in the Red Sea without one of Peter's guide books. I have been on numerous successful trips of Peter's including wreck searching in Truk Lagoon. Peter's new book is awesome, there are so many wrecks and to give detailed descriptions of all the wrecks themselves is great, it makes you feel like you have dived them already. I remember doing a night dive on the Thistlegorm which was just fantastic it was pitch black with pin points of light from fellow divers lights.In the south, Peter, Tom and myself went looking for the wreck of the Maidan on Rocky Island, we followed the debris trail down to 65mtrs and there before us was the huge shadow of the wreck hanging over the abyss starting at 80 mtrs. We could only look down in wonder, but we had found what we were looking for after 10 years. Peter's trips are a must and very much like his trips his books are a must read, Peter is a walking encyclopaedia on all things diving and ship wrecks. A lot of great ships were made in the North East and it comes as no surprise to me that this is where Peter came from too, we have been friends/fellow wreck divers a lot of years and hope to be sharing experiences and books for many more years to come.
John Womack MD Otter Watersports Yorkshire.March 2018 Otter Drysuits, UK This series of guides is respectfully dedicated to this great man. I am proud to have called him friend and shared his last dive. JOHN MICHAEL WOMACK 23 MARCH 1943- 30TH NOV.2018
CONTENTS AREA; 1HURGHADA MV BELINA M.V.HEBAT ALLAH MINESWEEPER T43 MOHAMMED HISABELLA
PAGE 7 PAGE 8 PAGE 11 PAGE 16
SHAâ€™ABRUL UMM GAMMAR GULF FLEET 35 COLONA V SUPPLY VESSEL AL QAMMAR MV SEA HAIL SS QUARINGTON COURT SS STEEL SEAFARER MV VIKI K M.V. OLDEN M.V POLIAGOS AREA 2;ABU NUHAS M.V.GIANNIS D P&O CARNATIC M.V MARCUS M.V KIMON M M.V. CHRISTOULA K GOBUL BARGE S.S.ULYSSES S.S ROSALIE MOLLER M.V SEASTAR SINAI COAST& SHAAB ALI ALASKA KINGSTON CARINA THISTLEGORM PORT FOUAD S.S.HURRIET SINAI PENINSULAR S.S. DUNRAVEN EMPEROR FRAZER M.V JOLANDA THE FIRE FIGHTING TUG MV SAFIR TRUCK DUMP
PAGE 17 PAGE18 PAGE 18 PAGE 20 PAGE 21 PAGE 21 PAGE 22 PAGE 23 PAGE 23 PAGE 23 PAGE 26 PAGE 32 PAGE 37 PAGE 43 PAGE 46 PAGE 52 PAGE 55 PAGE 60 PAGE 64 PAGE 66 PAGE 67 PAGE 70 PAGE74 PAGE 81 PAGE 81 PAGE 83 PAGE 86 PAGE 90 PAGE 92 PAGE 93
AREA 4 GULF OF AQUABA/STRAITS OF TIRAN RSS CORMORANT MV LOULLIA MV LARA MV MILLION HOPE THE CRANE WRECK MV HEY DAROMA MV AYIA VIVARA SS MARIA SHRODER M S FARAH 11 M V ZINGARA (Kormoron)
PAGE 95 PAGE 108 PAGE 109 PAGE 111 PAGE 117 PAGE 118 PAGE 119 PAGE 119 PAGE 120 PAGE 122
INTRODUCTION Part two starts off in the main centre of diving in the northern area(especially with current problem in Sharm) Many livaboards now operate from Hurghada to cover this area, and now a few venture north up into the Gulf. Hurghada is the base for many day boats operating and this can cause congestion, on the closer wrecks but some of these rush hours are predicable. There would seem to be no cooperation or co-ordination between the dive centres. Day boats have ventured out to the Rosalie Moller, and poorly trained day trippers seem to get into trouble diving this more advanced wreck. A single 12l on the back of a newly qualified “advanced” open water diver is a sure recipe for disaster. Within a month of El Gauna opening the fabulous corals which adorned the then upright stern mast of the Rosalie Moller had been stripped away by careless finning, poor buoyancy control and a total lack of common sense. Profit it would seem takes priority over good training and safety. Only a few of the wrecks seem to escape this holocaust, fortunately some are beyond the abilities of those leading to find and have remained hidden treasures. To that end I NEVER publish coordinates! Those in “charge” should take note of the condition of the wrecks in Truk and understand conservation before its too late and the use of steel wire reduces these maritime treasures to piles of scrap. Egypt boasts one of the most diverse collections of shipwrecks in the world. But do they care?Timing is all important and as with all of these wrecks the best conditions /less traffic is experienced through livaboards. This ,book 2 is divided into 4 sections 1-Hurghada and Shabrul umm gamma, 2Shaaab abu Nuhas and Gobul,3 Sinai coast, 4 Tiran Dating back to 1850 the wrecks in this section represent a rich maritime history, through the days of sail and steam to modern tales of Greek tragedies. The Author has witnessed more than one of these accidents, and herein are unique accounts (as in section one) of the sinkings, and discoveries and identification of many others, due to the support of the RSWA.Wreck hunting is by no means an exact science. More than once we have found a wreck while looking for another, and while we have no “live” targets in the area it doesn’t mean new wrecks won’t turn up or indeed a new wrecking occur. Sections 3,4 and 5 though are a different story. So this then is the mainstay of todays Red Sea Wreck Safaris. Enjoy. Avoid the crowds. Respect these treasures. They can’t be replaced. 6
AREA 1 HURGHADA Just out from the Sport Club marina, on the south side of Hurghada is a small shallow wreck usually overlooked.
WRECK OF THE MV BELINA(UNCONFIRMED) There is little official historical evidence to confirm the name of this wreck or indeed its history. One local guide insists itâ€™s a sailing ship-with a propeller???? It would appear to be a small coastal trader. A small cargo boat, abandoned, sank in 8 mtrs. about 40 mtrs long, upright, diesel engine, single screw. Judging from the coral growths its been there for some time. I have found no registration for the vessel, but would assume that it is Egyptian. The wreck is totally accessible, and due to the sandy bottom suffers from reduced visibility, but attracts a large number of fish, including a large school of juvenile barracuda, snapper. Box fish, snowflake morays, giant groupers. The holds can easily be explored in only 8 mtrs. The engine room is located in the stern. The wreck is Skeletal, other than its intact hull and all windows are framed with soft corals The superstructure has been cleared to water level. The prop and rudder are still in place and the bow is quite impressive and sits on top of a small wooden charter boat. The deck is in 4 mtrs, and the wreck can be viewed from the surface. The wreck also has some good invertebrate life, including nudibranchs and shrimps. There are some good swim throughs at all levels. Despite the lack of history, depth and visibility, the wreck has great potential as a check dive(for small groups) those
www.deeplens.com interested in invertebrate life and photography. It is also an excellent night dive. Situated in a sheltered area and calm water, it has surmised many a sceptical diver.
WRECK OF THE M.V. HEBAT ALLAH
A 51mtr, 300-ton motor vessel, the Hebbat Allah stood abandoned in the Hurghada region. Donated by its current owner Mohamedi HOEIDEK. The vessel was sunk on the 7th August 2004 as the first artificial wreck/reef in the area. The planned depth of 30mtrs was not achieved, indeed the wreck now sits in 45 mtrs, which delayed the opening of the site. Originally intended as a general tourist attraction the additional and unexpected depth has provided the technical fraternity with a perfect classroom
The wreck now lies in 46 mtrs between Giftun Island and Gotta Abu Ramada, on a flat seabed of sand and broken coral heads. Her fore and aft masts reach up to 26mtrs. With her superstructure situated aft, the first view on the decent is the top of the bridge an 36 mtrs with the funnel and derricks just behind……….. Before she was sunk she was lined out and exit arrows put in place, and with numerous doors and stair wells there are great opportunities for safe penetration and exploration. The bridge has good natural light with windows on three sides and access to the engine room is from the rear of the bridge. Large groupers and morays eels have already laid
claim to the new accommodation on offer. The deck is at 40 mtrs and the two holds are empty at present. I suspect once word gets round they will also become a haven for marine life. A single door at the fo’s’cle bulkhead offers another opportunity for safe penetration.
There are several access points in Superstructure.
The aft mast has already attracted Coral bushes
WRECK OF THE EGYPTIAN MINESWEEPER T43
T-43 Fleet Minesweeper NAME PLA Official Designation: N/A NATO Code-Name: T-43 BUILDER: Wuhan Shipyard, Guangzhou Shipyard INVENTORY: Between 30 and 40 units are believed to be in service. Some have been stripped of sweep gear to serve as patrol ships. PROGRAMME T-43 is a standard Soviet-design ocean minesweeper, although most or all of the current group were indigenously built by the Chinese. The ship can also be used for patrol and mine laying missions. SPECIFICATIONS Displacement: (full load) 590 tons Dimensions: Length 60 m; Beam 8.6 m, Draft 21.6 m Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2,200 bhp; 2 shafts Speed: 14 knots Crew: 70 Sonar: Tamir-II hull mounted HF Guns: 2 manual dual-37 mm AAA; 2 manual dual-25 mm AAA; 2 manual dual-12.7 mm AAMG Depth Charges: 2 X DC mortars Mines: Mine rails, 12~16 mines
A Russian built, type T-43 minesweeper, 58 mtrs long, 580 tons, while at anchor in the Minkar channel Hurghada, this minesweeper was attacked by a squadron of Israeli Phantom jet fighters on Feb 6th 1970,. For many hours the Egyptian crew fought off the fighters, which returned several times after refuelling and re arming. Brave attempts to replenish the minesweepers ammunition failed and with her guns silent, she was struck by a bomb and sank below the surface. As the Israeli fighters turned for home, the ship resurfaced, the fighters attacked again, this time sinking her for good. Eye witness accounts tell of the enduring fight and the bravery of her crew.
The minesweeper now lies on a stony seabed in 30mtrs.She lies on her port side with noticeable lean
over -her keel upmost. The starboard side is in 18 mtrs. The wreck is intact except for the gapping hole just back from the bow on the starboard side-where the missiles struck. The hull is also peppered with holes from heavy calibre shells. The superstructure and funnel seem to be holding the hull in place. Considering the proximity of so many local diving centres the wreck is not dived as often as you might expect. Perhaps the poorer visibility puts tourist divers off (and warm water guides) .It is however a popular dive with wreck divers. The un attentive or poorly briefed will miss out on a superb dive-and the life seems to improve by the month.
The wreck has a permanent buoy attached amidships and the combination of depth and size allows for a full exploration in one dive. The entire wreck comes into view from 15 mtrs. The bow leaning over forms an overhang and is shrouded in glassfish and silversides, The hatch covers, windlass and chain on the foredeck are covered in an orange sea squirt and brilliant red fingers of sponge their colour only evident under torchlight. The upper (starboard) anchor is home to a colony of long spinned sea urchins and tiny reef fishes living inside the spines. Lionfish and Turkeyfish lie in wait for unwary straying fish.
The Entire wreck comes into view from 15mtrs Lionfish hunt glass fish amassing under the bow.
The bomb damage is found just aft of the bow and gives access into the forward section of the ship, and a corridor running right through the vessel with rooms running off and access to the engine room. The corridor has several exits running upward, but a deep penetration should only be attempted by fully equipped and experienced divers. There is evidence of ship life-beds, medicine cabinets communication equipment â€“and a lot of silt! The exterior still has much of interest the wreck still bears the guns she fought with, and ammunition boxes lie scattered on the sea bed. There is also much evidence of the ships purpose-sonar domes fitted in the hull, drones lying in the companionways and huge cable drums for the towed arrays. Several mortars are bolted to the deck amid ships and all the usual deck fittings are still in situ. The twin props and rudders are also still in place, but are often wrapped in mooring ropes.
Divers investigate the numerous weapons used in the futile fight against the Israeli fighter planes
The superstructure & cranes
a mortar bolted to the deck
The bow is shrouded in silversides
encrusting seasquirts on hatches 14
WRECK OF THE MOHAMMED HISABELLA Lying some 30 mtrs off the stern of the minesweeper is the wreck of a traditional Egyptian fishing trawler, which sank in January of 2007.The trawler sits upright pointing towards the stern of the minesweeper and ironically attracted fish almost as soon as she sank. The wooden wheelhouse, destined to eventually collapse is at present intact , and still boasts its glass, The hold and engine room are easy to explore. The rudder prop and keel are covered in a very well established growth of soft corals suggesting the vessel had been a t anchor for some time before it sank. Once the local inhabitants take hold she should become a colourful addition to the growing menu of local wrecks
Taken days after she sank, these images show a “new” looking wreck, and only fish have taken up residence for now. It wont be long before the Algae’s, bryozoans and sea squirts move in, the wood becomes saturated and starts to decay.
WRECK OF THE M. Y. EXCALIBUR This is the remains of a dive charter vessel, which belonged to the Sussana Diving centre and sunk under mysterious circumstances. The 21mtr wooden yacht sits upright in 20 mtrs. Her mast stands vertical off the starboard bow and the saloon is full of glassy sweepers. Her bowsprit and general elegant lines make her very photogenic, and a good dive in bad weather or at the start or end of a safari.
SHA’ABRUL UMM GAMMAR There is a small reef patch lying north of UMM GAMMAR, some miles to the north of Hurghada The site and wrecks are favoured by technical dives as two of the wrecks offer deep exercises and the third acts as a decompression stop. All three off the wrecks lie on the north east side of the reef. Starting at the north they are;
Wreck of the Gulf Fleet No. 31: The Gulf Fleet No. 11 was an Offshore Supply Vessel of 294 GRT built at Quality Equipment Co. (Yard No. 147), Houma, Louisiana, USA for the Gulf Fleet Marine Company, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Launched in 1978, she had a length of 54.9 meters, beam of 11.6 meters, draft of 4.18 meters, with twin diesels and shafts for a speed of 12 knots. Some sources state that the Gulf Fleet No. 31 was owned by the Zapata Gulf Marine Company instead of Gulf Fleet Marine. This doubtful due to the fact that the vessel's name, Gulf Fleet, and that Quality Shipyard where the vessel was built is owned by Tidewater Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Tidewater Inc. was, and still is, the owner of Quality Shipyard. Gulf Fleet Marine acquired, through either purchase or construction, 77 vessels between 1971 and 1984 which were named Gulf Fleet No. "__" which were, for the most part, numbered sequentially from No. 1 through No. 74.The Zapata Corporation, founded by ex-US President George Bush Sr. in 1953, owned Zapata Gulf Marine until it was purchased by Tidewater Inc. in 1993…………………………………………… The Loss of the Gulf Fleet No. 31:………………………………………………….. Miramar Index has the loss of the ship dated as being in September of 1985. However, this has been debated ever since the ship was relocated in 1995. It is believed that the ship hit the reef of north-east tip of Sha’ab rul Umm Qammar, the crew abandoning the ship, where it remained sitting atop the reef for a few weeks before dropping over the edge and descending to where she lies now. No loss of life is reported during the grounding or subsequent sinking. The wreck today This is definitely one for the technical divers out there. One of the deepest TEC-REC dive in the Red Sea, the descent is made down the wall of the reef until the wreck comes into view. The wreck lies upright a large rocky outcropping and perpendicular 17
www.deeplens.com to the northeast tip of the Shaabruhr Umm Qammar Reef at a maximum depth of 108 meters. The stern is located at 105 meters where the rudders and propellers can be seen. The top of the wreck is at a 95 meters where penetration is possible in order to explore the pilothouse.
PHOTO CREDIT MARTIN PARKER (AP VALVES, AMBIENT DIVING)
Aft of the superstructure are two cargo containers which may have been the crew's sleeping quarters. From the forward superstructure heading aft to the open work deck at 86 meters to check out the cranes. Aqautic life is abundant here, with soft corals, fusiliers, and a variety of other fish. The ascent is to follow the reef wall back up, staying close to the reef for deco stops. If there is a southerly current, a diver can opt to drift along the wall for a glimpse of the Colona IV at the deepest deco stop around 64-66 meters. This dive, as all technical dives do, require proper dive planning and surface support.
GULF FLEET #35
SHABRUL UMM GAMMAR
WRECK OF THE COLONA IV To the south of the tug lying in a depth of 65 mtrs is the hull of the safari boat Colona IV. The hull, about 32 mtrs long leans out seaward away from the reef and gives the impression that it is about to tumble down the reef.
WRECK OF UKNOWN SUPPLY VESSEL/PATROL BOAT On the southern plateau in about 22 mtrs is the remains of an Egyptian supply vessel. The wreck is little more than a keel, engine block and prop shaft, but attracts a large number of fish. Scattered around the site are fittings and fuel and waster tanks. The surrounding reef is rather poor but still supports good fish life, morays and the odd whitetip or Leopard shark Donâ€™t go out of your way to dive this one!
AL QAMAR AL SAUDI AL MISRI
As with many of the Pilgrim boats, the Al QAMAR sailed under many flags and guises before her demise. THE SHIP Built in 1970 as the TREKONER,at the Cant.Nav.Del Tirreno e Rivniti yard at Trigoso, Italy for the DFDS Company of Copenhagen, this 124mtrs long passenger car ferry (RORO) was 124 mtrs long, 7672 tons and could accommodate 645 deck passengers, 600 berths and 129 cars. Her 2 x 12 cylinder oil engines delivering 11,999 BHP producing a speed of 21 knots. A year into service she changed her name to DANA CARONA, leaving Copenhagen for the Mediterranean. After a much needed refit in 1979 she became the DANA SIENA. Then in a pattern which seems to run with all the ferry wrecks in Egypt, she came under Saudi ownership, Al Sabah Marine services of Jeddah moving her base to Alexandria in 1983,and taking on the name of AL QAMAR AL SAUDI 11. In 1988 she finally became the AL QAMAR AL SAUDI AL MISRI under the ownership of Khaled Al Fouda. THE SINKING
The final voyage was from Jeddah bound for Suez with 500+ passengers and a compliment of 63 crew. Fire broke out after an internal explosion in the engine room, igniting fuel oil which quickly spread through out the ship on the 18th may 1994. In a very short time the order to abandon ship was given with distress calls being answered by nearby vessels including the USS BRISCOE an American destroyer came to the rescue, Survivors lowered lifeboats and jumped into the sea. Official reports put the dead at 21 and 50 injured. She sank in the early hours of the next day. THE DISCOVERY On the 20th August 2007,Paul Vintner and a team of technical divers, decided to follow up rumours of the ship lying between Siyul, Shadwan and Hurghada Although one report had her in the straits of Gobul, we knew from eye witnesses she was further south. After a 3 hour search they located the wreck in 85 mtrs of water. They returned the following day to dive her. They Assumed they were the first to dive her.
www.deeplens.com Back in 1998 one of my fellow instructors on the BSAC regional staff returned from his first Red Sea trip, and include the “hospital ship” in his list of dives. He couldn’t name the wreck, nor did he indicate it was a new discovery. The ferry of course has accommodation, and I think the translation from hospitality refers to this wreck. Also at the time the paint would still be discernible- part of the old logo was a cross. All hospital shipwrecks have been eliminated from the suspect list
M.V SEA HAIL The 8745 ton Cyproit motor vessel, Sea Hail was built in 1970 and owned by the Sea Hail Shipping company. Out bound from Gdynia to India with a cargo of bagged sugar, she developed engine trouble followed by an explosion, sinking 3 hours later “30 miles south of the entrance to the Gulf of Suez” on 27/09/1985
S.S. QUARINGTON COURT A 6900 TON STEAMSHIP built by the Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. For the United British Steamship Co. ,The Court Line of London. She was 420 ft long, 57 ft beam and fitted with a triple expansion engine built by Wallsend Slipway engineering Co. She had a speed of 12 knots and a compliment of 34 crew Her final voyage was from Calcutta, departing on the 16th November 1937 with a 10,000cargo of jute gunnies and manganese ore, bound for Baltimore.On the morning of December 7th,about 12 miles south east of Shadwan Island the main injection inlet pipe was b found to be leaking. The engineers et about repairing the leak which was developing into a large crack. The main inlet valve itself had jammed open and could not be closed. By now a heavy flow of water was leading into the engine room and both watertight doors, either side of the engine room were sealed. In response to an SOS sent at 09.27, a mailer the President Doumer took the Quarrington Court in tow, but after an hour the bits and fairlead of the mailer broke and the captain refused to remake the tow. The water was now flooding the holds and the machinery space was completely flooded. At 5pm (1700hrs) an Italian vessel the Grangepark arrived, and with rising sea and wind the crew abandoned the Quarrington Court which then began to founder by the stern, finally sinking at 11pm (2300hrs)
S.S. STEEL SEAFARER
“ISTHMIAN LINES SS STEEL SEAFARER SUNK AT MIDNIGHT SEPTEMBER 5-6 BY AERIAL BOMBS 25 MILES SOUTH OF SOHAI PENINSULA, NO LOSS OF LIFE, RN CRUISER COVENTRY ON SPOT INVESTIGATING, 24 OF CREW ON SHADWAN ISLAND AND 12 AT HURGADA.”
Picture depicting the rescue of an American Admiral and 4 Americans from the stricken Steel Sea Farer by an Egyptian Fleet Motor boat Courtesy of the El Alamien Museum
Line book drawing of the target from a U boat captains notebook
THE M.V. VIKI K
A Greek general cargo vessel, built in 1952. The Viki K was a 5,936 GRT Cargo Ship originally built as the Poseidon at Flender Werken AG, Lübeck, Germany (Yard-No. 430) for Kohlen-Import & Poseidon Schiffahrt AG, Hamburg, Germany as the 39th ship of their fleet. Launched 18 December 1951 and completed in March of 1952, she had a length of 141.46 meters, beam of 18.27 meters, and draught of 6.99 meters. Propulsion was provided by a single 2-stroke 6-cylinder Howaldtswerke AG diesel engine and a single shaft for a speed of 13.5 knots. Normal crew compliment was 44 men, with accommodations for 10 passengers Owned by the VIKKI Shipping Co. There are 3 reports of her sinking, the first puts her east of Tawilla Island, however the “official” report has her sinking east of Shadwan on the 2nd Nov 1981 while on a voyage from Bilbao to Bandar Khomeini with a £4m cargo of steel and polyvinyl chloride. This report concludes that the crew of 15 was rescued by the bulk carrier Blue Danube, after abandoning the vessel in a “sinking condition”. As there was no further sighting of the vessel it was assumed sunk. In Feb 1982 the vessel was reported to have discharged a cargo before entering the Suez Canal. The owner mysteriously disappeared owing some £4m with several of his other vessels under investigation for illegal discharging of cargo. He was convicted fined one million Drachmas and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in his absence. The other vessels of the fleet were also arrested.
M.V. OLDEN A Panamanian bulk carrier, her final voyage was from Hamburg to Jeddah with a cargo of barley. Again eyewitness accounts have helped to reveal the sinking of this vessel .Due to a navigation error and partly due to confusion of wrecked ships sitting on top of the reef, the Olden ran headlong towards the Kimon M, struck her and the surrounding reef. An anchor was deployed but she began to sink quickly. The entire crew was rescued by the RO-RO Container ship GALA DE MAR. Her “official” position is totally incorrect The Panamanian bulk carrier Olden was 213 mtrs long, of 27,288 tons and built in 1967 at Bremen. Her hull and machinery were valued at £3M.
M V POLIAGOS A Cypriot motor vessel of 3371 tons,107 mtrs x 14.3 mtrs, built 1947 by De Merwede V. Vleit &Co, Hardinxveld, and owned at the time of loss by Panagia Odigitria Shuipping Co. On the 17/12/1980, while on a passage from Piraeus to Gizan, with 5000 tons of cement, struck a reef near Shadwan Island, while taking evasive action to avoid a collision with another vessel. Her 14 crew members being rescued
AREA 2 SHA’AB ABU NUHAS
DATES WITH DESTINY;1869;1978;1978;1981;1983 Just north of Shadwan Island at the entrance to the gulf of Suez are a series of reef patches, one of which lies fairly close to the main shipping lane which carries traffic between the Suez Canal , Aquaba , Eilat, Indian Ocean and the Orient. It is called SHA'AB ABU NUHAS .Facing north, the reef face bears the brunt of the prevailing north winds, and has been responsible for several substantial wrecks. There has been a great deal of confusion over the identity of several of the wrecks. It is not surprising when names such as MARKOS, MARCUS, OLDEN, and OLDENDORFE are mentioned along with two lentil wrecks and two tile wrecks! Many guides still list only three wrecks, and factious names such as the “DANA”, “SS LENTIL” and “ MARKUS MARU” have merely added to the confusion. Poorly researched items in diving journals have also spread the confusion. The FACTS below set the record straight. The wrecks are known locally by the cargoes they carried, hence, wood wreck, bottle wreck, tile wreck, lentil wreck Translated, the name means COPPER REEF,a timetable of events, which will help to clarify any doubt as to the history and identity of at least 7 wrecks SEPT 1869 MAY 1978 SEPT 1978 DEC 1978 AUG 1981JAN 1982 APRIL 1983FEB 1987-
P&O CARNATIC cargo-general. including gold copper, silver M.V.MARCUS cargo-granite floor tiles M.V.SEASTAR(refloated, sank later on Sha’ab Gobul) M.V.KIMON M cargo- lentils M.V.CHRISOULA K cargo- tiles M.V.SAN JUAN (refloated)Not to be confused with the SS SAN JUAN M.V.GIANNIS D cargo -wood M.V.OLDEN cargo -lentils
The 4 main wrecks are described below looking south, from west to east
THE WRCK OF THE M.V GIANNIS D
Launched in 1969 as the Shoyo Maru, the Giannis D was built by the Kuryshima Dock Company of Imabari, Japan. She was a 2,932 tons, twin hold general cargo vessel, with a stern bridge and engine room. She was 87 mtrs long. A 6 cylinder diesel engine gave her a top speed of 12 knots. In 1975 she was sold and re-named the Markos,(not to be confused with the MARCUS) until 1980,when the ship was sold n to the Dumarc Shipping and Trading Corporation of Piraeus, Greece and finally names Giannis D
THE FINAL VOYAGE. In April 1983, the Giannis D with a cargo of wood left Rijeka, Croatia bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Hodeidah in Yemen. She passed through the Suez Canal and headed south through the Gulf of Suez, and according to official reports suddenly veered of course headlong onto the north west corner of Abu Nu Has At 04.00 hrs, April 19th 1983 Lawson Wood and myself were woken by a very excited skipper of the Lady Jenny 111.He had listened in to an S.O.S. and subsequent rescue of the crew of the Greek cargo vessel Giannis D. Crew abandoned vessel, which is listing, and taken by an Egyptian tug to an oil platform and then by helicopter to the mainland. From the transmissions we were able to locate where the ship had struck and at dawn we were face to face with an amazing site ~
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE~ DAWN APRIL 19TH 1983…THE GIANNIS D AGROUND AT ABU NUHAS. “DISCOVERED” BY LAWSON WOOD, PETER COLLINGS & THE CREW OF LADY JENNY 111 that of a freighter listing to port, hard and fast into the northern face of Abu Nuhas , her deck cargo of mahogany being tossed up into the air like matchsticks. So excited and intent on this spectacle we over looked THREE other wrecks (KIMON M , MARCUS, CHRISOULA K).An initial survey around the ship revealed a huge tear in her side, and she had settled into the reef in an attitude that has remained to this day. We boarded the now abandoned ship and explored all the upper (dry) areas , retrieving the ships plans and other artefacts. A dive from the upper accommodation through the ship to the tear in her hull was made easier with the use of the recovered ships plans, and a survey of the surrounding reef showed the devastation caused by the grounding and also the water logged wood being thrashed onto the reef by the now receding storm.(It is interesting to note at this point that we were not aware of the location of the Carnatic only a few hundred yards away.) We noted the other three wrecks and vowed to return to explore them another time. A year later the Giannis D finally broke in two and settled into the seabed, her hold flattened but her stern and bow sections very much intact. Over the years little has changed except for the invasion of many of the Red sea species of corals invertebrates and fishes which are slowly enhancing the images of this ghostly ship. The letter D on her funnel has often lead to the wreck being wrongly identified as the Dana.
THE WRECK TODAY At the stern, her bridge, companionways, accommodation area and her engine room are all easily accessible and never fail to thrill even the most ardent of wreck divers. A photogenic shoal of Glassfish reside near the engine room vents and the obligatory Lionfish is never far away. Anthea’s too have made the wreck their home and at times it’s easy to forget this is a wreck and not a reef. It is quite an eerie sensation swimming through the bridge and companionways I had walked along in 1983.The angle at which she lies is the same, and each dive brings back that memorable day that gave the Red Sea this great wreck. Her king post reaches to within 4 mtrs of the surface and make a perfect place to off gas, The stern section is cut clean from the rest of the wreck and the port companion way rests on the seabed. Doorways at the stern allow for access into the steering room (one floor down and the engine room as well as various storerooms. Lines of portholes permit sunbeams to enter the accommodation block creating a wonderful atmosphere and a challenge for any cameraman. The stern has become a playground for divers
FROM BOW TO STERN…THE GIANNIS D IS A PLAYGROUND FOR DIVERS AND FISH
The mid section has collapsed, being made up of two holds, with the derrick and winches in the centre. Although morays lurk here it is not worth spending too much time as a more substantial part of the wreck waits a few minutes away further along the reef. The bow section, which itself still intact, lying completely over onto its port side, facing away from the reef Again this provides a great photo opportunity, especially from a few meters further along the reef looking back at the bow. Anchors , windlass and deck fittings are all in situ. Again there is a sheer cut where the fo’cle has broken away mid section. Here glassfish abound, and as this section of the wreck gets less attention, healthy soft corals cover the winches and handrails. Her foremast, which runs almost horizontally with its cables and pulleys still intact, is almost a coral reef in its own right-the ladder is covered in soft corals and reef fishes abound. This is also a great view point for the bow section.
www.deeplens.com As the king post rises to within a few meters of the surface, the rib will usually moor here. The descent down the kingpost reveals the stern section below. Now swim aft beyond the stern and take in the view from the sandy area just off the wreck (24m). This is a good spot for photos and for orientation. Here you can locate the lower (port) corridor which gives access to the engine room Swimming up this corridor, take the second door on the right- straight into the engine room- explore the deeper part, workshops, tool store etc-and exit via the same door( return to the upper section later in the dive).Now turn right continuing along the corridor. Exit via a doorway to the leftyou should now be below the bulkhead where the wreck has broken in two (24m)
DOWN IN THE ENGINE ROOM; DIVERS EXPLORE THE WORKSHOP, COMPLETE WITH LATHE AND THE LOWER SECTIONS OF THE GIANNIS Dâ€™S DIESEL ENGINE
From here its a short swim through the flattened holds and hatch covers to the foresection. The bulk head will come into view first-swim beyond the bow for another great view. Swim back via the foremast-watch for a cleaning station (18m) along it back to the deck where the winches are located. Turn left and a shoal of glass fish will come into view. After exploring the fo’c’sle swim back to the stern via the flattened area, (18) watch out for batfish, morays and several anemone fish guarding their piece of real estate
SOFT CORALS ON THE FO’C’SLE, PILOTS LADDER & WINCH
THE BOW IS LOCATED A SHORT SWIM ALONG THE REEF Shortly the stern section looms back into view and access to the bridge, ward room canteen and store rooms is gained from a doorway on the port side. Once in the interior there are several floors to explore and a door on each level (starboard side) returns you to the upper section of the engine room-this time you can exit via the skylights to finish the dive off in 8 mtrs around the funnel and engine house. Terminate the dive via the kingpost.
DIVERS EXPLORE THE ACCOMODATION AREA LOCATED IN THE UPPER SECTION( STARBOARD) OF THE STERN.ENTRANCE TO THE ENGINE ROOM IS ON THE LEFT.
A very popular and often busy site it is essential to time this dive right otherwise you could find yourself in the engine room surrounded by hoards of divers. It should be stated though that while this is an easy wreck to penetrate it should only be done with those who are experienced in overhead environments. For those not wishing to enter the wreck the exterior still has much to offer. Some find the wreck very dis -orientating the strange angle at which it lies can confuse the brain- so Iâ€™m told! Otherwise the wreck is free from currents but sometimes subject to swell from the north. Watch out also for encounters with dolphins- a large pod lives nearby.
THE WRECK OF THE P&O CARNATIC
WITHOUT QUESTION THE MOST ELEGANT WRECK LOCTED SO FAR IN EGYPTIAN WATERS, THE CARNATIC IS A MARITIME TREASURE FROM A NOSTALIC ERA IN SEAFARING HISTORY.
In total contrast to the other wrecks on Abu Nuhas, the Carnatic is adorned with over 100 years of coral growth of splendid colours and variety. The story of her demise is almost as colourful. The P&O passenger mailship was used between Bombay and Suez, in the days before the canal, when passengers had to complete their journeys overland to and from Alexandria. This journey was affectionately known as the Spice Run. It is from these journeys that the term posh was derived (port out starboard home).Her ornate design can still be recognized to this day The Carnatic was a typical steam sailing vessel of the 1860's. Built by Samuda Bros. She was laid down as the MYSORE. She was 294 ft long,1776 tons and could carry some 250 people. Although fitted with a primitive inverted tandem compound engines her 12 knots was generally 32
www.deeplens.com derived from her sails. A famous ship of her day and considered luxurious at he time. Archive photoâ€™s show her elegance. THE LAST VOYAGE She left Suez on September12th 1869 with 230 on board including 37 passengers and a cargo of cotton, port, copper ingots and ÂŁ40,000 in gold coins. She was under the command of Captain P.B.Jones .In the early hours of the next morning the prevailing northerly winds had pushed her along and slightly off course. The fine weather meant that there was no surf breaking on the reef and the Carnatic struck coral at 1.30 in the morning. Feeling that the ship was in no danger of sinking, the captain decided to await the arrival of another P&O vessel, the Sumatra due to pass by at any time. After spending a second night on board, with meals served as usual, a squall blew up and the Carnatic suddenly rolled over onto her port side and began to take on water and slip over the edge of the reef. Her mid section, with the engine mountings collapsed and the vessel began to break in two. the stern slipping off the reef and sinking. As the fore section settled some of the boats managed to get away and over a period of hours rescued many of the people on board. The survivors made it to Shadwan where they were eventually rescued by the Sumatra. In all 27 drowned.
The news of the sinking had resounding effects in Britain and a salvage operation was put into action, using a new air pump and helmet system of diving .Most of the gold and copper was recovered in that historical salvage. This was the first time a salvage operation had been conducted using a revolutionary surface demand diving system. The wreck lay undisturbed until may 1984 when divers stumbled across her near the wreck of the Giannis D. She was later to be positively identified by Lawson Wood, who ironically had stood with me only a few hundred feet away. Had we found her then it is likely Sharm would never have got that fresh fruit cocktail! THE WRECK TODAY She lies keel on to the reef on her port side, her bow pointing in the same direction as the Giannis D ~ east. Like the Giannis D she is in two distinctive parts, the bow and the stern, both lying on their port side. With the machinery in the broken midships section. The decking has now rotted away leaving a series of main supporting beams of the 3 decks. These beams are covered in a profusion of colour and life. Her ornate stern is very photogenic both from inside and out, and the square portholes are evident. Her davits are also a feast of encrusting marine life, from soft corals to tiny Pipe fish and Nudibranchs. At one time a magnificent table coral grew from one of the davits until an Italian diver decided to sit on it!
THE RUDDER AND PROP, NO MATTER HOW YOU VIEW THEM ARE VERY PHOTOGENIC, IN ONLY 24 MTRS THE NATURAL LIGHT IS VERY STRONG
THE IRON CROSS MEMBERS WHICH SUPPORTED THE WOODEN DECKS ARE NOW COVERED IN LUXURIANT SOFT CORALS AND MAKE A GREAT SHELTER FOR MANY SMALL REEF FISHES SUCH AS ANTHEAS, HATCHETS AND GLASS FISH
The highest point of the wreck is at the stern in 17 mtrs with the rudder and prop in 28 mtrs and a magnificent sight too! One of the most superb images of the wreck is in the high point of the fore section, her starboard side where it meets the main deck. Here silversides and glassy sweepers seek shelter from the ever present marauding jacks. He bow itself still bears the graceful lines of a once proud and elegant vessel, and is best appreciated from a few meters along the reef. Her bowsprit long gone, it is possible to look right down into the fore-section through the support ring. The interior of the fore section contains many broken bottles from her cargo. Although many sank with the ship some 200 drifted away and were found elsewhere in only a few inches of water, intact and undisturbed since she sank. Her masts lie on the seabed away from the wreck and the mid section while broken up has some nice areaâ€™s to explore with her primitive engine, gears, condensers and boilers to be seen.
LEFT;RED SEA WRECK ACADEMY’S WEBMASTER, PAUL KERSHAW EXPLORES THE BOW SECTION,WHERE MANY BROKEN BOTTLES LIE SCATTERED ON THE SEA BED. CENTRE ;DIVERS SWIM BETWEEN DECKS IN THE BOW SECTION RIGHT;DIVERS POSE IN FRONT OF THE CARNATIC’S BOW WITH INTACT BOTTLES REMOVED FROM A CASHE, WELL HIDDEN FROM TROPHY HUNTERS.
The mooring is usually attached to the highest point of the fore section, in 14 mtrs. When descending with the reef behind you the bow will be to your right stern to your left. Drop down and swim along the sea bed with the wreck on your right - the bow curves up to what was its bowsprit, swim beyond 10 mtrs and look back at the superb greyhound bow. Head back towards the fo’c’sle and meander thought the deeper part of the fore section. Broken bottles litter the bottom. The view from the rear looking back out is superb. Ignore what is above-you will come back to that later. Swim aft and explore the more flattened areas of the wreck which will bring you to her engine room-gratings pipes valves fly wheels , gearings and big ends are all there. Look carefully and you will see 3 holed deadeyes and tackles from her rigging-some of the original oak still remains!
As the journey continues aft the stern section comes into view- explore the rudder, prop and admire the fantail stern before ascending to around 20 mtrs as you head back towards the fore section, exploring more of the engine room on the way. The upper section of the foredeck is a stunning explosion of colour-making this wreck one of the prettiest in the area. Antheas, silversides sweepers and hatchets all shelter hear from jacks travellies and lionfish. Spend the remainder of your dive around this area-it has endless photo opportunities.
The attitude and position of the wreck makes this a very easy dive indeed. The lack of current and moderate depths make it suitable for most divers. It is a great first wreck dive penetration is very easy, There are many corals on the wreck so care should be taken when swimming through the cross members. One of the oldest wrecks to be found and yet it has held its form extremely well.
. The Carnatic is featured in â€œAround the World in 80 days by Julies Verneâ€?
WRECK OF THE M.V. MARCUS (aka THE TILE WRECK)
The vessel left Italy after taking on a cargo of granite floor tiles. After passing through the Suez Canal bound for Jeddah she ran aground during a storm in May 1978.The official report stated that the vessel had encountered difficulty in steering. Stephan Jablonski, an engineer on board had just finished his shift and went to bed.
Built in Bremen in 1956, the 2699 ton( 3100 gross)general cargo motor vessel, fitted with Man diesel engines was a German registered vessel, and sailed under several names including “Naguilan”, “Nordhaff” and “Atlas” until 1971, when after an extensive fire she was declared a total constructive loss, She was then sold to Greek interests and again went through several changes in ownership and name changes including the Nikitas which was registered to the Pandio Shipping Co, a part of the Vikki Shipping Line. The vessel then took on the name Marcus in 1978.( The owner of this shipping line Demitris P Kavadas was later to be found guilty of insurance fraud involving several other vessels including the Viki K and Elpinki K-both reported to have sunk around the same time as the Chrisoula K, the latter being owned by the Clarion Marine, which Kavadas had financial connections with!) “I was awakened in the early hours by a tremendous noise of screeching metal, utter panic and crew running every where. We had run aground onto a reef. For the next 6 hours we tried to prevent the water from flooding the ship. The engine room was in 6ft of water and she was settling by the stern. We abandoned the ship and were taken on board a passing cargo ship bound for Suez”
Although he didn’t Know it Stephan was to find himself back on the same reef some 3 years later, after surviving a second shipwrecking on board the Elphinki in the Medditeranean. The
www.deeplens.com Authors note In 1978 I was part of a BSAC group visiting the Red Sea for the first time . The skipper of our boat, Saleem Hussan, took us to Abu Huhas-he wanted to recover some tiles from a recent wreck During our dives the ships bell was recovered and retained by Saleem. As well as bearing her original name the date and port of registry were marked clearly-BREMEN 1951.The painted name on her hull and wooden boards reading Marcus. We were totally un aware that only 200 mtrs along the reef lay the Carnatic-it would be 7 years before she was to be found. THE WRECK TODAY For years she was mistaken for the Chrisoula K which by coincidence arrived on the same reef 3 years later-a similar ship, a similar cargo a similar journey. The broken off bow of the Chrisoula K sitting on top of the reef next to the tile wreck simply added to the confusiondeliberate or coincidence????
MISTAKEN IDENTITY;THE ONLY BREAK IN HER HULL IS HERE AT THE STERN. AS REPORTED IN “SPORT DIVER” “THE STERN OF THE CHRISOULA K BROKE OF AND SANK IN DEEPER WATER”.THE ENTIRE HULL FROM THIS BREAK TO THE BOW IS INTACT-THIS BOW NEVER BROKE OFF!
She never broke in two( The Chrisoula K, however did) and her bow section still lies in place. Her starboard anchor chain is clearly visible spilled out over the reef. Her hull continues down the slope in one continuous wall of steel to the aft hold where a crack in the hull has allowed some of the cargo to fall over and onto the sea floor. The intact stern, complete with rudder and prop lies in 27 mtrs of water and lies over to starboard.
L to R;THE STERN LIES OVER ON ITS STARBOARD SIDE; A DIVER EXAMINES THE CARGO; THE FORWARD HOLDS ARE IN SHALLOW WATER, HERE THE TILES ON PALLETS HAVE MOVED FORMING A CORIDOR WITH THE PORT SIDE.
www.deeplens.com The main section from the bow to the stern castle sits upright. The upper part of her bow lies on the top of the reef, in 3 mtrs and the two forward holds, like the aft hold are full of tiles on pallets stamped "MADE IN ITALY". The cross bracing girders of #1 hold have collapsed due to impact damage, but from #2 hold aft the wreck is relatively intact, although the bridge has collapsed, and the stern section aft of the hold lies over to starboard, with the weather deck, companionways and winch still discernible. On the port side in the lower engine room compartment is a drill stand draped in a golden coat of concretion. A single sunbeam illuminates the scene through a hole in the wreck. Her fore and aft derricks have fallen over to starboard. Hard coral adorns the hull and there is a resident shoal of ever-curious Batfish. Her funnel has sheared off and lies on the seabed along with other debris including a toilet.
Left; the top of the engine room is open and with care it is possible to explore 4 levels Right; the workshop, complete with pillar drill, lathe and tools. Entrance to the engine room is via the dooway To the left of the diver.
Entering her engine room is via the bridge skylights and should only be under taken by very experienced divers using proper wreck penetration techniques. For those who venture in, the sight is quite amazing natural light percolates through creating a surreal atmosphere, and a challenging photo opportunity. The upper section of the engine room is quite open but it is possible to enter the lower decks of the generator plants and engines themselves. An opening through to the transmission tunnel beckons but should not be entered, anyway a huge grouper lurks here as a guardian to the foolish! Gliding over walkways round the intact working of this vessel is a thrilling experience for the cool headed, but it is no place for mistakes or uncertainties. What is left of the bridge area offers some nice swim throughs and this can be accessed from the engine room or from the skylights above.
LEFT; A DIVER HOVERS OVER THE OPENING ABOVE THE ENGINE ROOM, RIGHT;DIVERS WITH FULL REDUNDANCY PREPARE TO ENTER THE LOWER FLOORS OF THE ENGINE ROOM, ALTHOUGH ONLY IN 12 MTRS THE DANGERS OF PENITRATING DEEP INTO A WRECK STILL EXIST.
Swimming back along the starboard side, into shallow water there are a second set of bows, anchors and chains lying in very shallow water. These are the remains of the bow section 39
www.deeplens.com of the Chrisoula K. Masts from the Chrisoula K lie on top of and across those from the Marcus- another of the many clues to the existence of two tile wrecks. The mooring is usually placed amidships above the superstructure. As the wreck slopes down into deeper water, it is easy to locate the stern. Swim out over her port side through a crack in the hull down (hull on the left) to her massive prop and rudder( 27m). Swim out a few mtrs and take in the view. This section has broken at the bulkhead and leans over to starboard. Beneath the weather deck are store rooms and accommodation areas over two floors-room for two divers at a time!(24m) Swim around the companionway on her starboard side through to the last hold. Over two the right is her funnel (note the difference between this one and that of the Chrisoula K) and a field of sand eels. From here locate a crack in the hull-winches and piles of tiles rise up into the #3 hold. Ahead is a supporting girder running port-starboard. By swimming under this (12m) the workshop comes into view-lathe, pillar drill and tool store-often full of hatchets. Note the door on your right-itâ€™s the entrance to the engine room. Glide through the work shop then u turn back and the entrance to the engine room will be to your left (careful with the fins Eugene). For those with overhead environment experience the lower part of the engine room can be accessed via a stairwell located in the forward port corner-so turn right once through the door. The stair well leads down into the generator room 4 huge generators can be seen, with the huge engine block centrally placed. (12-14 m) Corridors forward and aft of the engine take you through into the pump room. There are fire hoses, tools, gauges, and valves. A good torch is essential, although light filters through from above. Exit via the same stairwell.
LEFT;A DIVER HOVERS OVER THE PROP-THE TEAR IN THE HULL BEHIND. RIGHT; A DIVER ENTERS THE STERN VIA THE TEAR IN THE HULL.
A less demanding route can be used by swimming straight across the landing to another door opposite. This leads to the galley(left and left again) out through to the port side to swim forward to the forward holds. The cargo has shifted and has formed a corridor with the hull. Light usually streams in here. Watch out for some big groupers. Swim over to the starboard side out and along the hull (10m).You will see the hull has no break and the bow is still attached (take care if a swell is running) as you swim forward you will see two sets of masts/derricks. Those on top lead to a second bow-well dispersed-these are from the Chrisoula K, you will also see two sets of anchors and chains. Turn back now with the hull of the Marcus now on your right and swim back over the holds to the superstructure (8m) to finish of the dive.
LEFT TO RIGHT;MORAYS, REEF FISHES AND GROUPERS FIND SANTUARY AMONGST THE WRECKAGE
This is an easy dive when the weather is right-in a heavy swell the rib is in danger of ending up on the reef. The usual considerations, training equipment and experience must be taken into account before a penetration dive is carried out .Good timing will also enhance the dive. The controversy over her identity will no doubt rage on but all the evidence is there and it adds flavour to a dive on the MARCUS –the tile wreck. A TALE OF TWO BOWS;LEFT THE BROKEN OFF BOW OF THE CHRISOULA K;RIGHT THE ATTACHED BOW OF THE MARCUS AKA THE TILE WRECK!
The bell which was recovered back in 1979 when we “rescued” tiles for Saleem from the wreck. It hung in his veranda for many years covered in white paint. I persuaded him to let me clean it up and it revealed the original name of the wreck as the M.V.Atlas built in Bremen in 1956. This piece of evidence helped us retrace the initial history of the vessel, establish a time line and prove beyond a doubt that the tile wreck is indeed the MARCUS (K) and not the Chrisoula K The full story is available in “THE TILE WRECK HER TRUE STORY”
THE WRECK OF THE M.V. KIMON M
Built in 1952 by Stuicken & Sons as the BRUNSBUTTEL. She was105.meters long, powered by an 8 cylinder diesel engine built by Waggon & Masch . She was 3714 ton gross. In 1964 she was renamed CIUDAD DE CUCUTA until 1971 when she was again renamed the ANGELA. In 1975 under the ownership of Janissios Shipping company of Panama she took on her final name.
THE FINAL VOYAGE. In December 1978, the Kimon M loaded 4,500 tons Lentils left the Turkish port of Iskenderun. On the 12th, she drove headlong with engines at Full Speed onto the reef. A passing cargo ship - the "Interasja," immediately responded to the distress call and picked up all the crew and delivered them safely to Suez two days later. With the bow section high and dry on the reef the main section of the ship broke off and rolled over onto its starboard side, THE WRECK TODAY. The resulting impact of the grounding can still be seen today. A huge crater of barren scree surrounds her shattered foâ€™câ€™sle, her bows high and dry and well dispersed. The aft section, lies in 27mtrs, with weather deck, companionways, huge prop and rudder is almost intact, though recent storms have made large sections forward of this very unstable. The entire wreck lies on her starboard side, with her stern in 27 mtrs of water, to within a few mtrs of the surface at the fore section. Her upper hull has been weakened by a salvage attempt and the impact of another vessel, and although much of the engine room still remains, recent storms have rendered it in- accessibleeven in calm weather. From the aft holds forward the wreck is in a dangerous condition and should be viewed from the outside only, The resident school of batfish are perhaps one of the 43
www.deeplens.com few highlights of this once great wreck, which has succumbed to the relentless wave action and swell at this exposed corner of the reef.
LEFT TO RIGHT;EXTERNAL EXPLORATION;A DIVER HOVERS OVER THE WRECK; THE MASSIVE PROPELLER; SWIMMING THROUGH THE STERN COMPANIONWAY, BELOW THE WEATHER DECK;
LEFT TO RIGHT; THE DIRECTION HELM;GLASS FISH IN THE COLLAPSED ENGINE ROOM; A GROUPER HAS CLAIMED THE MAST AS HIS OWN.
save for the resident bat fish. The debris on the reef can be explored before returning to a horizontal mast and the mooring line. The wreck is sometimes added on at the end of a dive on the tile wreck (7 minutes away)The hull is very shallow (10m) and again leads down to the stern which is perhaps the most interesting and intact area of
www.deeplens.com the dive. The rudder and prop should be visited first-they are huge-then swim up a few meters and explore the weather deck- the direction helm is still there-and the companionways. Forward of this the vast holds have now collapsed in right up to the engine room area, which is now also in a state of collapse. The entire area is a confused mess of jumbled pipes plates girders and fittings, giving way to the forward hold another void
It should be noted that entering the wreck is very dangerous. However, the size of the wreck and the way in which it has disintegrated into the reef is worth seeing if time allows and the weather is good. Best tagged on to the end of a dive on the Marcus.
THE WRECK OF THE M.V.CHRISOULA K
Built at Lubeck in 1954 by Orenstien, Koppel and Luebekker, as the Dora Oldendorf. The 106 mtr long general cargo motor vessel had 2 cargo holds either side of her superstructure, and was powered by MAN diesel engines. In 1970 she became the Anna B, and changed hands in 1979 purchased by the Clarion Marine Co.( a Greek company with financial connections to the Pandio and Vikki shipping lines) and became the Chrisoula K
In August 1981 the ship, loaded with a cargo of Italian floor tiles, departed for Jeddah. On board was Stephan Jablonski since his survival of the sinking of the Marcus in 1978 he had survived the ELPHINKI K and the VIKI K all interconnected through a web of holding companies in the shadowy world of Greek shipping. Stephan reported that an unscheduled stop was made at Seracuse where cargo was unloaded, before continuing the journey through the Suez canal. He was shortly to experience his 4th and final premature departure from a Greek vessel. “During my next shift I was working in the generator room when suddenly the ship ground to a halt and there was that now familiar sound of twisting screaming metal. I ran up onto deck and thought I was dreaming there was that island and again and there was the same reef in front of us. We were still afloat but held fast by the bow and the swell was pushing the ship deeper into the reef. Although it didn’t seem as though we were sinking we were ordered into the boats. again we were rescued by a passing ship with the Egyptian navy in attendance”. STEPHAN JALONSKI Several photographs taken at the time clearly shows the bow section of the Chrisoula K high and dry, her port anchor down,( the Marcus sank with her starboard anchor down) with the stern section broken off and no where in sight. A second puzzle is that the safe of the Chrisoula was found lying on the seabed next to the tile wreck, not inside it! On careful examination of my photos from the Bridge of the Giannis D as she sank 3 bows are clearly visible!
www.deeplens.com As I had dived the “tile wreck” “two years before the Chrisoula sank, there has to be another explanation. Lying next to the bows of the Marcus are the dispersed remains of the Chrisoula K’s bow, anchor chains and indeed her derricks-which lie on top of the dekkicks of the Marcus. Records show that the bow section was dispersed by the navy as it was a hazard to navigation- but where was the main section of the wreck? 3000 tons couldn’t just disperse into the reef. During a presentation on a liveaboard about the enigma, the skipper, Gaffa, got very excitedhe had witnessed, as a fisherman the near “drowning” of 2 tugs as they attempted to pull the Chrisoula off the reef. As she broke away, the main section started to take on water, filled and began sank quickly as the tugs surged forward. Quick thinking on behalf of the salvors prevented the tugs from become additional wrecks . At the next opportunity I teamed up with Ali Baba and Mohammed Farouk-my regular dive masters and friends- and we set of to locate the wreck.Dr Fiona Stewart provided us with a superb side scan image and at the third attempt we located the main body of the wreck.
Running the sidescan sonar along the face of Abu Nu Has D. Fiona Stewart was able to locate the main section of the Chrisoula K in 65mtrs of water. The white band denoting the path of the fish and its blind area. the shadow of the wreck lying to the left and the main reef to the right. The stern of the wreck is protruding into the blind area and the sheered off foresection can be easily made out.
The stern lies in deep water (60m), pointing north, lying on her starboard side. Her hull has now have collapsed in, but the stern is quite intact, complete with weather deck and companionways, rudder and prop. The aft hold has collapsed and the next part of the wreck, the bridge and accommodation area is still intact although the depth has limited our exploration so far. The fore hold has become a jumbled area of girders and plates and has continued to deteriorate over the 5 years we have dived her. A huge debris field in 70 mtrs lies quite flat on the seabed as the wreckage peters out. The fore-section and bow is missing and it is clear to see the tear in the hull- the forepeak bulk head is missing. There is evidence of her cargo but not as you would expect if the vessel had been fully laden.
The Marine life is quite sparse although the stern does have a large covering of soft corals and large grouper hang around the prop and rudder. As this wreck is well beyond the usual limits and away from the protection of the reefs in open water, it requires special training and experience to execute a dive safely. GPS coordinates are essential to locate this wreckage. 2019 UPDATE. Our last visit to the wreck revealed a huge deterioration in the structure of the hull. We had difficulty in finding any section that could be penetrated safely. Never the less these images should silence any â€œexpertsâ€? who claim there is no 5th wreck at Abu Nu Has.THAT was worth the helium alone
SIDE SCAN OF THE CHRISOULA K This amazing image was taken during the 2004 Red Sea Wreck Survey, and is one of many images captured by using the latest soft ware from CODA OCTOPUS, SBE and AS GEOCONSULT. A C-MAX SIDESCAN UNIT under the control of Miss Fiona was towed behind Cyclone over a 2 week period capture this and many other images. The clear band in the centre is the track of the towed array. Steward of HI RES G
The images shows clearly the stern section of the CHRISOULA K lying in deep water some 600 mtrs out from the other wrecks at ABU HUHAS.The stern, holds and bridge area are easily recognisable in the scan
At a depth of 42 mtrs a diver hovers over the triple expansion engine of the ROSALIE MOLLER, as he prepares to descend two floors down into the very heart of the ship.A natural light shot, using a Nikon D70S DIGITAL SLR.
BLUFF POINT An hours sail north from Abu Nuhas is a sheltered bay formed by the Gobul Islands. It is an idyllic stop off to and from the Thistlegorm and as a base for diving the nearby sites. It must be said that the reefs to the north are some of the best in the northern Red Sea. It is a great place to stop and recharge in the middle of a hectic safari and offers great snorkelling, wall dives, dolphin encounters night dives and BBQ’s. Sadly the sloping stony seabed suffers from indiscriminate dumping of rubbish-by both crew and guests! During the day the site is usually quite quiet, not many linger here but certain nights the site is packed with charter boats. Timing is everything, and no more so than the first “wreck”.
WRECK OF THE BARGE
There seems to be little or no history available about this scattered hulk of metal pieces that once was a barge, lyng in 12mtrs. In the early nineties the hull was intact, with substantial framework along its length, and the barge was a photographers paradise. Soft corals hung every where and the hull was full of shoaling fish. Then a guide book was published advising “you can tie into the wreck” and they did (and still try to) Today the site is nothing more than an outline of keel ribs and scattered metal covering an area of 30 mtrs x 10mtrs. You can “once over it” in a couple of minutes, or you can “linger and glide”. It is the residents that still make this a very special site- especially if you are a photographer, bug hunter fish watcher or just love the Red sea. The following picture gallery was taken on one afternoon dive maximum depth 15 mtrs, dive time 90 minutes!
Several giant morays have lived around the Wreckage for many years.
Solder fish shelter by the hull
One of the many bottle nosed dolphins living in the area calls round to find a playmate .Oh its only a diverâ€Śâ€Ś..
wreck guardian; this Napoleon wrasse surveys his domain
A diver glides over the ribs
even flattened plates thrive with life.
Another moray eyes up the resident fish a Lionfish stalks its patch The eco system of the wreck and its surrounding area is quite remarkable. Every aspect of the wreckage seems to have become real estate from encrusting sponge corals and crustaceans to morays, squid, cuttlefish, crocodile fish stonefish and even the odd dolphin for good measure. As a night dive the site really does come alive, with anemone carriers torpedo rays octopus and snowflake morays adding to the daytime cast. The metal work becomes decorated with feather stars and coal polyps. It all sometimes becomes infested with grouped divers-sometimes 12 students to one â€œmasterâ€?. Often twin flashing emergency strobes shatter the serenity of the site, strobes often accompanied by the gaudy suit brigade. TIMING IS EVERYTHING!
WRECK OF THE S.S. ULYSSES THE VESSEL The Ulysses was at the Leslie yard on the Tyne for the Ocean Steamship Company. She joined other vessels on the fleet with Greek Mythology theme; amongst them Achilles, Ajax, Hector, Priam , Menelaus, and Sarpedon .She was launched in 1871, and was described as an “iron hulled single screw steamship” and was. 310 ft long with a 30 ft beam,a draught of 20 ft and grossed . 1900 tons . Like the Carnatic, Dunraven and Kingston she was rigged for sail, with a single 2 stroke, 2 cylinder steam engine capable of producing 225 HP driving a single iron propeller.
The board of Enquiry records show that she left London docks in August 1887 bound for Penang via the Suez Canal. The master was A Mr Bremner and although very experienced this was to be his first and last voyage to the Red Sea Two days out of Suez found the Ulysses clear of Sha’ab Ali. The calm seas, and light air meant that many of the uncharted reefs were invisible; no line of white surf, no sound of waves breaking over a reef. the early hours of the 16th, the Ulysses struck Gobal Seghir. At first it seemed that the damage was slight and the pumps could easily handle the small amounts of water being taken on. Regarding the incident as nothing more than an unfortunate grounding, the captain decided to wait and seek help from any passing ship. 55
www.deeplens.com Just before daybreak the lights of the British Steamship "Kerbela" came by and raised the alarm on reaching Suez. Stuck fast on the reef the captain refused to jettison any cargo, convinced the vessel would eventually be pulled free. For four days the vessel grounded on the coral, slowly the coral ground its way through the iron hull. By the 18th, the sea had got up and the stern was down , her stern rails and steering gear awash. The following day, escorted by HMS FALCON two barges with salvors arrived from Suez .Crews from all vessels now worked in the hot sun to unload the cargo, but soon the pumps failed. As the wind got stronger the barges moved inside bluff point for fear of being swept onto the same reef by the mounting swell. That meant the cargo had to be man handled over reef, lagoon. Sand spit, more coral then out to the barges. Despite these gallant efforts which lasted nearly two weeks, the ship began to slip back off the reef with her bowsprit slowly reaching for the sky. She was abandoned and left to her fate. By the 5th September the stern was on the seabed, 27 mtrs below and the ship broke her back, her fore section on top of the reef was relentlessly pounded by the waves and has now become totally disposed over the shallows.
Ulysses sister ship Hector, built at the same time and bearing the first letter of her name on the funnel, a fleet signature
. The iron framework, minus the wooden decking hold firm on the main section of the wreck. IDENTIFYING THE WRECK For many years the wreck’s identity remained obscure. Known only as “the cargo boat at Gobul Segeira Gradually the list of “suspects” was reduced as contenders such as the 56
www.deeplens.com Kingston, Carina and indeed the Carnatic were identified.The first two by myself and the latter by Lawson Wood. (The Dunraven was identified back in the mid seventies, of similar style she could easily have been a contender) In the late eighties I obtained a set of books affectionately known as DODAS; The Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the age of Steam. Therein was a record of the Ulysses “aground at Gobul”. It took several more visits to the wreck before she finally confirmed her identity to us. The steamship companies name on a piece of crockery, confirmed along with close inspection of the drive system and power unit as well as the remains of the cargo. DODAS also told us where she was built; - in the north east of England, where more evidence of her identity was to come to light.
THE WRECK TODAY. Her beautiful rounded stern lies in 29 mtrs, embedded in sand, with her hull open to the sea lying on her port side. Her prop and rudder, still intact and are covered in a luxuriant gown of soft corals and the hull and keel form a cave in which huge groupers lurk and are covered in corals sponges, hydroids and anemones. The hull itself forms a current point and is a great place to observe travellies, and jacks marauding. The hull also forms a v shaped area with the reef and here resident crocodile fish can be observes along with superb fan corals with resident long nosed hawkfish. Some of the cargo lies scattered around the seabed, covered in lush soft corals. Midship and aft sections are totally accessible, as all the planking has long since been devoured by marine worms. In this respect she is not unlike the Carnatic, with iron cross braces for each deck forming a criss cross pattern; stunning when viewed from inside and some of her general cargo remains inside. There are also branches of the delicate black coral growing here so care is needed when entering the hull. Forward the bow and fore sections are mangled up with the remains of the older wreck. Inside the hull the huge fly wheel and engine can be observed. Dead eyes, bollards, winches and railings, even a bath and the steering assembly can still be seen. Back in the bow section the almost obligitory Glass fish hang in clouds with Lionfish ever vigilant. Scorpion fish too are in abundance and the entire wreck is a delight for the photographer. Strong currents can be experienced flowing over the wreck so good site knowledge is essential. The shallows are teeming with fish including Tangs, Surgeons and triggers, which dart in and out of the scattered remains in only 2 mtrs.
The wreck is a haven of life ,turtles , several types of moray eels., surgeon fish, scorpion fish, anthea’s fusiliers, sweepers and glass fish, each with their own patch, the inevitable 57
www.deeplens.com but fierce clown fish, plus for the sharp eyed frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish and a host of nudibranchs, plurobranchs and flatworms, while jacks, trevellies and tuna patrol the surrounding waters, especially off the stern.. Add to all of this a covering of lush corals , both hard and soft and you have a paradise for bug hunters and photographers alike .Perhaps the reason for this is that the wreck itself lies on one of the very best reefs in the Sinai area ,that and the brisk current which sweeps past the wreck.
RED SEA PIRANAHS Huge shoals of Sergeant Majors patrol the wreck, and in the past few years we have noted a strange phenomenon. Observed from the surface these fish shoal and go about their business like any other reef fish, but as we approach the wreck wearing scuba they take on the persona of……PIRANAS and appear to devour sections of the wreck! They gather in huge swarms…. Clouds….. gangs…… is there a collective for frenzied Sergeant majors? At first we thought they may be stimulated into a feeding frenzy and were eating either egg masses or algae. The most recent suggestion is that we are scaring away another specie which is guarding its eggs and the Majors are simply using the opportunity to have a feast. Whatever the reason behind this behaviour, it provides superb video and still’s footage at close up range, as close as you want mate these fish ain’t movin VISITORS BY DAY Several years ago we always buzzed by 3 dolphins when ever we dived the Ulysses. They gave us a “oh just divers” look and buggered off! Then one day they brought along a calf. The behaviour was quite amazing the “guardians” brought the calf right up to us and seemed to be teaching the youngster about these fumbling inadiquates from above. We all felt like we were behind bars in a zoo. The gestures and noises from the adults left us in no doubt this was baby biology lesson! Since then on almost every occasion we have had 20 minute encounters with a pod of 30 plus playful bottle nosed dolphins. The Ulysses is now dubbed the dolphin wreck The Island of Gobul along with Tawilla, Quisum and Cadour forms a huge natural anchorage with only a narrow channel to the north and coral patches to the south. It is relatively shallow (50 mtrs) and has very little tidal flow. An ideal anchorage for large ships. The lack of tidal flow means the area is sandy and silty so reduced visibility and coral growth prevails. Soft corals are absent and the encrusting life very different to the spectacular reefs on the Eastern side of Gobul. Indeed much of the life on the next wreck begs a visit from marine biologist; Here they will find a truly unique eco system and a spectacular wreck. Diving conditions are therefore often more favourable here when it is rough elsewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED SAILING VESSEL (43143) Lying next to the Ulysses embedded in the reef is the keel and outline of an old sailing vessel (no evidence of an engine or prop shaft).It is not part of the Ulysses, and is an older wreck. Before she was identified as the Ulysses she was known as the cable wreck-presumably because of some of the cargo. However this report from the Hydrographers department may shed some light on the identity of the wreckage; â€œunknown sailing vessel, cable laying for Semens Brothers C1900â€?. 59
THE WRECK OF THE ROSALIE MOLLER
THE HISTORY The 3963 ton, 115mtrs long ship began life in the ship yards of BARCLAY and CURLE, at Glasgow as the FRANCIS in 1910.In 1931 she was sold to the Reederei Moller Line of Skandinavia. and reregistered in Shanghai under the British flag. For the next few years she operated along the east coast of China between Shanghai and Tsingtao, until in 1938 with war on the horizon she was recalled to Liverpool and under the new command of Captain James Balsom she undertook collier duties, delivering 4500 ton of coal to Royal Navy bases. THE FINAL OYAGE When war broke out she made several successful trips running the gauntlet to Gibraltar, then in 1941 after a much needed overhaul she left Britain bound for Alexandria, via the Cape of Good Hope with yet another cargo of coal. With the Gibraltar straits closed due to the Axis forces there was no access via the Mediterranean so the longer route via the cape had to be undertaken. Stopping at Durban and Aiden on route, she finally entered the Straits of Gobul, in the Egyptian Red Sea, and ordered to anchorage H to await further instructions THE SINKING In the early hours of Oct 8 1941, two days after the sinking of the Thistlegorm, while at anchor in the area between Gobal and Quisum Islands, designated anchorage H, having literally followed in the wake of the Thistlegorm, she was attacked by a staffel of HEINKEL 111 bombers. Two bombs exploded in number 4 hold causing heavy damage in the starboard quarter. She rapidly filled with water and began to settle. The weight of her cargo plus the water kept her in a level attitude. She sank quickly with the loss of only two lives, the survivors taking to the lifeboats.
The magnificent sight of the Rosalie Moller’s crows nest, still upright in 20 mtrs In one official report she is listed as being raised and salvaged at the end of the war, but it was rumours of a “sistership” of the Thistlegorm and further reports of a ST Francis which lead us to look for the ship. An old map marked with “Anchorage H” gave us a starting point; that clue had come from the HMSO publication of British Vessels lost at sea 1939-45. After months of searching we found her intact upright and pristine. She now lies on a sandy, muddy bottom with her Titanic like bow down into the sand, and this is truly a magnificent sight. The port anchor is up and the starboard down. Her forepeak complete with winch gears and deckhouses can be easily explored. There is the traditional lamp and paint room. But access to the crews quarters still eludes us. The entrance is well concreted with a skin of coral . There is no foc’sle due to her design. Both masts stand proud and straight the substantial cross bracing makes a perfect shelter for many hundreds of glassfish, and are flanked with winches. The foremast boasts a magnificent crows nest in 22mtrs. Fish shoal around the cross bearers and the mast bases make superb photo studios, Moving aft the bridge is alive with glassfish. It is easy to swim from room to room or down the inboard companionways once the local inhabitants permit entry. as all the wooden floors and bulk heads have long since rotted away. Officers and engineer’s rooms, dispensary and doctors room are all on the deck level, with the captain’s quarters and dinning room are above, the wooden wheelhouse has gone. Slabs of concrete, serving as armoured plating hang precariously above. All the timber have rotted away making access very easy. Brass fittings, lamps and porthole drip trays lie buried in the silt, which has accumulated over the years due to the lack of current.
From bow to stern.. the Rosalie Moller sits upright and virtually intact at a depth of 46 mtrs.at her keel and 34 to the deck. 61
The single funnel has sadly toppled over, dragged there by a grapple from some skipper incapable of locating the wreck correctly. Most handrails are intact and the lifeboat davits are swung out shrouded in a ghostly cloud of silversides. A poyniant vision. The in board companionways separate the saloon from the guests quarters and likewise the engineers accommodation. Again all the wooden divisions have long gone for swim-throughs and again glassfish abound. A deck galley sits proud complete with 16 portholes in its ventilators and there are store rooms with several axels within. The engine room at 46 m is totally intact with gauges still in place and is easily accessible. The low pressure pot had us confused for a while for lying on top was a porthole. Metal from the bomb blast has damaged the skylight above the engine room knocking the porthole out to where it lies today. The engine room is a sight to behold, intact handrails, workshops, gauges, telegraph all as they were the day she sank, so much to explore but time and deco are never on our side.
Engine room repeater telegraph reversing wheel Many of the workshops still retain an air of working life, pots and pans await the next meal in galleys, bulk head lamps waiting to be serviced in the workshops.
www.deeplens.com There is always a moral dilemma leave be for others to see and trust or secure deep within the wreck where no one can steal or see. Workshop in 46 mtrs
gauges and panel
intact but very siltyâ€Śâ€Ś
The holds still contain her cargo of coal. The damage to her starboard quarter is evident but the stern is intact and the steering assembly plain to see. The steering boss and metal hoop are all that remain of the huge wooden wheel, long since devoured by marine worms Over the stern section is a metal framework once covered in canvas it acted as a foul weather canopy. There is a second galley below the aft lifeboat deck; added when she was refitted in 1939, and aft of the 5th hold is a â€˜tween deck with store rooms which included a potato room and a post room! Most of the handrails are still intact here and hard corals have encrusted many surfaces.
Stern gantry assembly, aft galley,
If the bow section is the land of the grouper then the stern belongs to over sized lionfish and big eyes. Large shoals of fish including tuna, jacks and snapper can be found around the wreck. Because of the limited bottom time it takes several dives to fully appreciate this wreck and great care must be taken due to the depth and sometimes reduced visibility. Good planning and surface support is required for this challenging dive.
www.deeplens.com The extra skills and experience needed to dive this wreck, plus a crew with equal abilities should help keep this beautiful lady safe from the desecration clod hopping, thoughtless divers and guides have bestowed on her “sister ship” Long may she rest in one piece. GUNBOATS OF TAWILLA As yet these have not been located. The story comes from the Arab Israeli conflict. One of my skippers had served in the Egyptian Navy on a fast patrol boat. His squadron had approached Ras Muhammed, then occupied and had teased the Israeli gunboats to give chase. Lured into uncharted waters they chased the Egytian boats, un aware of the waiting reefs. The Egyptian boats turned as if to attack and in doing so both Israeli boats ran hard onto the north facing reefs of Tawilla Island and were totally wrecked.
We move south to Gobal an area that is well visited by charter boats ,which use the dispersed remains of a small wreck in the bay as a night dive .Again the cliff walls are a great attraction and there are literally miles of unexplored reefs. For the wreck enthusiast there’s more wrecks to be found. WRECK OF THE MV SEASTAR A greek motor cargo ship of 327ft, 2460 tons .Although this wreck is sited on Abu Nuhas in some guides, it in fact lies on Shaab Gubal north of the Ulysses. There are several conflicting reports about this vessel not least the date of sinking. Her name at the time of sinking was indeed Seastar as archive pictures would confirm. Evidence from the engine room has confirmed her origins. She had grounded on Abu Nuhas, and in the course of freeing herself damaged the hull. Her optimistic captain decided to head north for Suez to seek repairs. By the time they reached the north of Gobul it was evident the pumps could not cope and an attempt to beach her ending in her becoming a total loss. After only a few days on the reef she flooded totally and slipped down the reef, her stern ending in 50 mtrs and her bow in 25. There is no sign of any cargo which perhaps was perishable and may have indeed been lentils, which would account for the confusion at Abu Nuhas over lentil wrecks. The holds have quickly collapsed in, leaving the bow, superstructure and stern as the intact sections of the wreck. The engine room is accessible as is the bridge and accommodation areas, but there are many cables and jagged metal to snare the un wary. She as yet has resisted the invasion of coral but jacks, trevallies and snapper thrive in the ever present current. Again weather and strong currents which prevail down this reef must be taken into account and good surface cover is needed. OILRIG ASSEMBLEY UNIT This could be regarded as a novelty, but has proved to be a great photo opportunity, it’s diagonal lines coupled with abundant fish life. The piping and valves were being towed, and came adrift dragging across the reef in 6 mtrs forming a platform of rubble, which is slowly recovering. Before long soft corals will be draping the horizontals providing some great swim-throughs. It lies1.5mile north of Bluff point on Sha’ab Gubal. The area abounds in fish life and eagle rays have been spotted here. 64
IT WAS an amazing sight the foremast of the Rosalie Moller stood proud for many years boasting her crows nest .Now like the stern mast, aft gantry and wing bridges, it has been destroyed by those who would tell you they are the sons of Poseidon
AREA 3 -SHAAB ALI/SINAI COAST WRECK OF THE M.V. ALASKA 11 She was returning from Jeddah to Suez when entering the Gulf of Suez she caught fire Built in 1959, as ESCORPION, 1967 LAGO NEGRO, and 1975 ANUBIS 1980 REEFER EXPRESS. Owned by the Overseas Reefers Carriers Marine Co. She was a 928-ton “refrigerated cargo installation class”. Fitted with an 8-cylinder diesel engine delivering 17000bhp. She was involved in a regular service delivering meats to Saudi Arabia. and was ripped apart by an explosion and sank 10 minutes later. Two crewmen were lost, 9 others were saved after many hours in the water. The wreck lies in 10 mtrs surrounded by superb habillies on the west side of Sha’ab Ali. This is the 5th wreck we have found over the years in this area. As the wreck was so encrusted into and dispersed around the reef, we doubted if we would ever identify her. Then a lifebelt was located in a corner of the foc’sle-the letters A-L-A-S-K-A still readable. The 6mtrs long bow/ foc’sle lies on its port side with only the port anchor and chain in situ. Anchor winch is still in place and her masts lie alongside complete with ladders and loudspeaker. Her starboard side reaches to the surface and her cargo consists of huge granite slabs with lateral groves down the edges, presumably the bases of the cold storage units. There are also sets of cooling radiators from the refrigeration system. Brass portholes with cast storm covers litter the wreck. A spare prop sits central but there is no sign of any bridge or accommodation. The stern, again fairly intact lies on its port side and the storeroom could be accessed with care. Here a Walkers Log, and piston shells from a small engine were located. Oblong glass lenses with curved edges were also found. These turned out to be small skylights, fitted into wooded decks to allow light to filter down below. To say the least this is a very intriguing wreck. Given the depth it is possible to spend a long time on her remains.
WRECK OF THE S.S. KINSTON(aka Sara H) Built on the River Wear, in the Oswald yard at Sunderland for the Commercial S.S. Co. in 1871. She was 262 ft long and grossed 1449 tons and was described as a brigantine rigged iron hull screw steam ship. Like the Carnatic and Ulysses she was a hybrid-rigged for sail and powered by steam. Due to low working pressure of boilers and un- efficient engines, sail was essential to extend the working range of vessels of this type. Not until high pressure boilers and triple expansion engines came along did sail give way to steam power. THE FINAL VOYAGE The Kingston left Cardiff on the 28th January 1881 bound for Aden with a crew of 25.She had onboard a cargo of 1210 tons of coal, plus 530 tons in her bunkers. On the 16th feb, at 8.15 in the morning she passed through Suez. By 6pm she was abreast Ras Gharib, and by 10.50pm(2250) she was nearing the Ashrafi lighthouse. The weather was fine but cloudy, and the sea smooth. The Kingston was making full speed, a steady 9 knots. At this point the Master, Thomas Richard Cousins altered course “a quarter point to the southward”, to counteract the force of the tide termed “pulling”. At 1145 he ordered the second mate to go and set the fore topsail. The lookout was called from his post to assist in hauling the sheet home. As the two men went aft to trim the yards the ship struck at 1150 pm. An anchor was put out astern and for the next two hours she was put full astern, but held fast. The order was given to jettison her cargo. The steamship F.W.WARD came along side, declining to assist in pulling the Kingston off, but offering passage for her crew. By the 18th the had jettisoned some 70 tons of coal and another steamship the COLUMBIAN came alongside, offering her services which were accepted and a hawser attached aft. The Kingston held fast and the COLUMBIAN left. The Kingston began to make water and that evening and by the 19th the master had ordered the crew to abandon ship. The mate and 16 of the crew gaining safe passage on the ALMORA. The rest of the crew, including the master, chief engineer, second mate and 5 crewmen remained on board until the fires went out about 6pm on the 20th.They made it safely to Gobul island until the 24th, when running out of water they put out and were taken aboard the STRATHMORE and landed at Suez. The Kingston went to pieces where she struck.
The PRACTICAL JOKE In the early nineties this wreck was labelled “unknown”, then a guide book appeared quoting it as the SARA H. I could find no evidence to support this, but as it was written in a book the diving world labelled the wreck SARA H .At a dive show in 1996 my display still showed the wreck as unknown. A young lady approached , smiled and said “well at least you weren’t fooled by Davids practical joke”. My reply was there was no such vessel as the SARA H “, she replied “that’s right-I AM SARA H”.She went on the explain that the author had very little knowledge about what he was writing and had picked the captains brains-DAVID HALAL, Sara’s husband ! David had no idea what this wreck was called and looked at his wife and was inspired! Little did he know how long this joke would last.
IDENTIFYING THE WRECK Spurred on by Sara’s story I returned to the wreck and took photos of her unusual engine /boiler configuration, and took them to the resident expert at the Trinity Museum on Newcastles’ quayside. He instantly identified the engine-explaining that it was a hybrid and only 10 had been made –“here on the TYNE”. He then went on to produce a yard list-10 names of ships the engines were fitted into. Through a process of elimination and a listing in DODAS I identified the wreck as the S.S. KINGSTON. It took years for all those “experts” out there to accept I was right…….. Bitter pill for some to swallow!
THE WRECK TODAY All that remains of the vessel today is a hull- and at first glance the wreck looks worthy of only a quick swim over, an afterthought after diving the nearby Thistlegorm. However those properly briefed will find a wreck full of colour, life and interest. It is easy to see how she came to grief –head on into the reef, indeed her fore section merges with the reef itself, with her rudderpost resting in 14 mtrs of water upright. The rudder and prop have been a backdrop for many a photograph. All of her wood has long since dissolved, leaving her uprights and cross bracings open- and easy to explore. Her boilers and condensers sit just below the surface and her engine lies over to the starboard side of the ship. Decent down to 16 mtrs off the stern, taking in the towering hull above. Looking right the crows nest lies in 14 mtrs –a great photo prop. Turn back towards the hull, passed the fan corals and through the rudder post-watch out for many nudibranchs and invertebrates on the hull. Turn right. You should now be swimming with the hull on your right-up to 8 mtrs where there is a break in the hull-look left for shoals of fish. Swim in through the break in the hull- you are now in the heart of the ship above are cross beams a winch and a spare prop. Meander carefully through the uprights-glassy hatchets full what was 68
www.deeplens.com once the engine room . Map of Africa Angels sweep by in curiosity. As the stern approaches look for the steering helm. Glide over the starboard side along the gunwhales watching out for attacking surgeon fish! The engine lies spilled out below., boilers to the left. Several uprights come into view-almost temple like. At 6 mtrs swim away from the wreck along the reef, now on your left more shoaling fish lie ahead.
The surrounding reef is perhaps one of the very best in the areahuge shoals of yellow stripped goatfish, sweetlips, antheas and fusiliers hang over some beautiful hard and soft corals-Tuna turtles and dolphins are regular visitors. Care is needed with resident surgeon fish they are very brave, aggressive and territorial-especially around the stern.
TERRITORIAL SURGEON FISH
CURIOUS ANGEL FISH
Although this an ideal third dive it can be superb early morning dive and between 11am3pm the light and colours can be quite stunning. When the conditions are right it is a photographers paradise. However it must be noted that with a swell running the site can be quite tricky. The current can be very strong and often splits directly over the reefwhich of course then lends to a great drift along the reef(on your left) until the current meets a counter current coming the other way. When this occurs divers often end up in an eddy-a good collecting point for the rib
THE VAL ST. LAMBERT WRECK THE S.S. CARINA She was an iron screw brigantine steamship some 312 ft long and 1095 tons gross, built on the Tyne by the Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co. in 1886. Fitted with a single
engine could push her along at a steady 8 knots.
WRECK DETECTIVE I am often asked how I find a new wreck. There are many answers including luck, but in this case it was a combination of intuition, guess work and ideal conditions. Conditions that would in fact be dangerous before the days of navigation aids, radar and radio A flat calm sea, no surf, no surf to mark the whereabouts of a reef, no surf to crash onto a reef; a sound which would carry and be a warning in poor visibility. Poor visibility need not be fog or mist. The low lying sun can create many problems when looking out for reefs, especially if it is the 1890’s! Land fall comes in the shape of the Sinai Mountains to port and the Egyptian Massif to starboard. No sign of any danger. Ahead lie the islands of Shadwan and Gobul, Sha’ab Ali and two smaller reefs of Shag Rock and Sha’ab Nab (pronounced Sha’ Abna). These factors were responsible for at least one wreck, so why not others? A close look at the chart for the Sinai clearly showed these reef patches had caused the demise of the Kingston, possibly because of the reasons mentioned above.
THE DISCOVERY So we set of to retrace the route another victim might take. Aided by the mirror calm sea, still air and good sunlight, we travelled north from the wreck of the Kingston, following the reef contour of 8 mtrs at a snail’s pace. My skipper was understandably nervous and unconvinced “no wreck here Mr Peter”, shaking his head, and keeping a weary eye out for any change in the water ahead. Three of the crew sat on the bowsprit peering into the water. As the skipper uttered for the 5th time “no wreck here Mr…..” one of the boys cried out “wreck Mr Peter”! My hunch had paid off. Below us scattered over a large area was the unmistakable form of a fairly large wreck!
THE CLUES I had no idea what the identity of the ship was, hopefully diving her would give us some clues at least, if not answers. 70
www.deeplens.com Scattered over a large area the ship had been very well dispersed. In only 8 mtrs she would have quickly broken up and the superstructure (if indeed she had any) was nowhere to be seen. She was a steam driven vessel, made of iron with a riveted hull, with several boilers, a typical engine for her day, driving a single prop via a shaft sitting proud of the sea bed still on its mountings. Huge con-rods and bearings were easy to recognise. Her steering mechanism standing high almost to the surface was a huge double cam attached directly to the rudder. I had seen this type of yolk on many early vessels, indeed the system of rods and chains still relied on this yolk assemble. However on this wreck there were no rods and chains; presumably ropes were used directly from the ships wheel and had long since rotted away. The rounded hull formed an unnatural cave and glass fish as well as three white tip reef sharks had found haven here. While browsing through some old diving magazines I came across an article about 3 white tip sharks called “3 in a bed”, by non-other than Lawson Wood. Perhaps Lawson had stumbled across these remains too. The bow section lying on its port side is quite substantial and both anchors remain, albeit covered in coral and she has a distinctive bow sprit support, square in cross section, partly obscured by coral. Although the bowsprit mast itself has gone the supporting collar or ring is still intact and perfectly round. Plates obscure rows of handrails and several parts of the wreck have obviously been moved during storms. Further down the slope is what might have been her funnel, although there is no evidence of a steam whistle. In 1896 the Compagnie Belge Maritime du
Congo was formed and the Carina added to the growing fleet, although she was soon out dated as a modern fleet developed( including the S.S Leopoldville)
Cargo is often a clue when identifying a wreck but for a ship of this size we could find very little. She could have of course been carrying perishable goods, been salvaged, or was she in ballast? Further dives would answer all those questions. We did however find lots of pieces of glass ware (later identified as Belgium, Val St Lambert) and piles of 5” glass squares which had been fused together at the corners; suggesting enormous amounts of heat?
www.deeplens.com Had she been on fire?
Val Saint Lambert is a Belgian crystal glassware manufacturer, founded in 1826. It is the official glassware supplier to H.M. King Albert II of Belgium. Founded by the chemist, M. Kemlin. Val Saint Lambert is well known for its Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces.
Judging from the coral growths she had sank about the same time as the Kingston and much of the wreck is covered in a healthy coat of hard corals. There must be many more clues hidden beneath the coral.
FINAL VOYAGE She left Antwerp via Suez bound for Calcutta with a general cargo of “perishable goods” and glass ware. Heading south past Sha’ab Ali fire broke out; it is thought that the glass may have acted as a magnifier and ignited flammable materials such as wool or cotton products. As the fire swept through the ship her master ran for shallow water and shelter and failed to see the long shallow reef running between Sha’ab Nab and Sha’ab Ali. Her bottom torn out, she see-sawed on the reef filling quickly with water, the fire partially extinguished. As the wind increased she swung around until she faced south. Her crew having a battle against both fire and water began to abandon ship as she capsized onto the seaward side of the reef. With no hope of the vessel being saved she was abandoned and the crew, some of the injured and burned, were rescued by a passing ship heading for Suez.
DIVING THE GLASS WRECK Strong currents often flow over the wreck and to that end it is essential that good boat cover is provided and safety sausages (DELAYED SMB) are carried. The site is often subject to large swells so calm weather is preferred. With a maximum depth of 14 mtrs, the wreck is ideal as a third dive. The is much of the wreck still to explore and it covers quite a large area down to 20 mtrs where there are three large boilers. Much of the wreckage though is â€œdispersedâ€? and lies in shallow water. Broken pieces of glass lie everywhere and hundreds of buttons have been recovered. One one dive, while near a pile of coral scree the author recovered a porcelain chicken, perhaps one of the most unusual finds ever! She will contue to give up clues like this for many years to come.The trick is to take your time and observe. Reef fishes including surgeons are very active on the wreck and it is great for photography when currents allow. The shoal of glassfish which shelter in the bow section are quite spectacular and several jacks can be observed picking off the silversides which hover just above the bow. A huge napoleon wrasse and several Nassau groupers are also residents. At about 300 ft long there is just enough time to swim from the stern to the bow and back, meandering over the wreck, her flattened condition testimony to the power of the sea. This can be a n exhilarating dive. Marine life is always at its best when the current flows On several occasions a local pod of dolphins have paid us a visit and have stayed around and played.
THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND The Thistlegorm story starts at the Yards of J.L. Thompson and sons at Sunderland, for the Albyn Line. It was here that the 4898 ton 415ft cargo ship was built In 1940. Her was driven by a triple expansion stream engine, built by North East Marine Engineering, which could deliver some 1850 hp driving her along at 10knots.By September of the next year she had completed her trails and had completed three voyages America (aircraft( Argentina (grain), and The Dutch Antilles (rum and can sugar). Each vessel carried the emblem of Scotland , the thistle which formed the prefix of each vessels name followed by a Gaelic word thus DHU GORM, GLEN, NUIR
She was quickly requisitioned by the navy and armed with the guns, prior to her second voyage, which she still carries today -world war one vintage. Her final journey started in Glasgow after a two month lay up due to boiler trouble, where she was loaded with a cargo that contained rifles, munitions, aircraft parts, Wellington boots, trucks, motor bikes and tunics for the Eighth Army in North Africa. Even two steam loco's, tenders and rolling stock were loaded onto her deck. These were for the Egyptian railways and had been built in Glasgow at the North British loco works at Springburn. The voyage to what was to be her final resting place was a long one. Germany had control of virtually all the Mediterranean, so the vital supplies she was carrying for the 8th Army had to transported via the cape and up the Red Sea .She left the Clyde on the 5th Sept and proceeded without incident to Freetown, South Africa, before rounding the Horn, passed Madagascar, through the Mosambique channel, until she reached Aiden where she bunkered for two days. Here she was escorted up the Red Sea by the HMS Cairo to the anchorage in Shaâ€™ab Ali. Here she was delayed for 10 days due to the wreck of the Tynefield blocking the entrance to the Suez Canal. Here fate was to deliver divers one of the most fascinating wreck dives outside of Truk Lagoon. 74
THE CARGO In Addition to Wellington boots, generators trailers,2 armoured cars, lee Enfield Rifles and aircraft parts, the Thistlegorm’s cargo consisted of the following; STANIER 8F 2- 8- 0 LOCOMOTIVE
The Stanier 8F steam locomotive was perhaps the work horse of the rail network in the 30’s and 40’s and indeed over 200 of the 852 made, were exported to the Middle East. Designed by Sir William Stanier , her 2-8-0 numbering refers to her wheel/ axel layoutone front bogie and 3 drive axels. The coal tenders and water tank cars made up the locomotive, the water tank cars extending the engines range by provided an extra supply of water for desert operations. Two of these and not 3 were loaded onto the ship BSA M 20 MOTORBIKE A staggering 126,000 of these motorbikes were produced during WW2 and were used by dispatch riders. They were assigned to Field Marshall Auchinleck, who was in charge of the British troops fighting the desert fox-Rommel MATCHLESS G3L MOTORBIKE The Matchless G3L was a two-seater single cylinder motorbike, with a 4 speed foot change gearbox. Designed for desert use, it was later to become a domestic vehicle in the form of the G3Clubman. NORTON 16 H MOTORBIKE The Norton 16 h was very similar to the BSA motorbikes, and was again specially designed for despatch riders in the desert campaign. So successful was the design that 100,000 were manufactured during World War 2 alone.
BEDFORD MW; Built on a 15cwt chassis, with a 6 cylinder Bedford engine, they were versatile lightweight .
www.deeplens.com BEDFORD OY; With almost double the payload of the MW, the Bedford OY 3 ton truck was the mainstay of the British Army, with some 72.000 produced MORRIS COMMERCIAL CS8; Easily recognizable by it’s distinctive bonnet, these trucks were fitted with Ford 8 cylinder engines FORD WOT 1; The largest of the vehicles in the wreck, this double axel truck was used for heavy payloads and was over 20ft long. Only a small number of these vehicles were produced for the army. FORD WOT 2; One of the most commonly used trucks, some 60,000 being produced, the 15cwt vehicle was generally fitted with planked tray and canvas top. FORD WOT 3;Larger than the WOT 2, this truck was fitted with a ford V8 engine 85hp,with some 18,00 seeing military service in WW11. TILLING STEVENS TS19;The largest of the 4 wheel trucks in the wreck, at 6.4 mtrs long, they weighed some 400kg and could carry a substantial payload
UNIVERSAL CARRIER; Of the 30or so loaded originally,3 of these small multipurpose tracked vehicles can be seen in the debris field between the two sections of the wreck. Built by Vickers Armstrong. They were used as infantry support and the common variant were usually fitted with a 303 Bren light machine guns hence their nick name “Bren Gun Carriers” they were powered by Ford V8 engines and could reach speeds of 48km/h. they carried up to 5 persons.
Other cargo known to have been loaded according to Waymes load list included 16 Lysander aircraft, a pair of light pundits, an immense amount of ordinance, 4 water rail cars to compliment the loco’s and Bedford Ambulances.
www.deeplens.com For a more comprehensive report on her cargo see “75 YEARS UNDERWATER”
The sinking A flight of German Bombers having failed in their mission to find and sink the Queen Mary, then being used as a troop ship looked for a secondary target and found the Thistlegorm After straffing the ship , the circling Hienkel 111 dropped two bombs which hit the aft holds which were carrying the ordinance. The initial and secondary explosions almost ripped the ship in two and sent both steam locos hurtling through the air. Her fate was sealed and as she sank the crew abandoned ship and were taken on board the “ S.S Salamanua” and “HMS Carlisle” The explosion also caught the fleeing bomber, which eventually crashed a few miles to the north. Nine of the crew were killed. The date Oct 6th 1941.For the crew this was to be the start of their misery. Not only was their pay stopped but they had to make their own way home.
SURVIVORS ORDEALS ANGUS Mac LEAY
“I was about to jump when I saw one of the gunners lying unconscious flames all around him. I managed to get the man onto my shoulders across the burning deck and into the life boat” HRRY BANSALL
“H.M.S CARLISLE was anchored close by, the two lifeboats reached its side as the light from a tremendous explosion turned night into day. Broken in two by the blast she sank below the water” JOE DAGG
“as I ran over the red hot deck a locomotive hurled through the air disappearing over the port quarter” JACK BLAIR
“When Captain Ellis came on board we did a head count and five gunners and four sailors had gone down with the Thistlegorm” NORMAN ELAND DUNN “I was awakened by the thudding on deck and the sound of two heavy explosions. The afterdeck was in flames it was impossible to get to the boat deck The plane came round
www.deeplens.com again and dropped a bomb which exploded in the water and machine gunned us. We jumped overboard” DENIS GRAY (from the HMS Carlisle) “ We could see the se planes coming in very low and very fast, if they had their wheels down they would have hit the mast” Gunner Glynn Owen “ I saw the hammock above my head catch fire I could see the whole ship was on fire ,I thought my family will never know how I died”
CAPTAIN WILLIAM ELLIS “On 6th October 1941 at about 2am, while the vessel was at anchorage F in the straits of Jubal(Gobal) with other vessels under Naval Control, I was awakened by the sound of explosions. I immediately went on deck and found the vessel had received a direct hit from an enemy bomber. The after part of the ship was enveloped in fierce flames and I realized right away there was no hope of saving the ship” “Orders to abandon ship were given as the crews quarters were aft the sailors and firemen of the watch were cut off from the boats Two boats were launched and the men whose quarters were amidships were safely got away. My boat drifted aft and was successful in picking up three or four men who had jumped overboard”
THE WRECK TODAY
The wreck has now been extensively dived and diver overload has taken its toll. Thoughtless mooring by dive masters to the handrails means they have long since gone along with their soft corals. The front boiler cover of the port steam train has now fallen off, the port deck above number I hold ha s collapsed, threatening to sent a water bowzer down into the hold,(as it has for years) flattening trucks bikes and rifles, Sadly the last remaining paravane on the starboard side has been destroyed-again through thoughtless mooring-the water bowser having been lifted and then dropped onto the towing array. All but a few of the portholes have disappeared. Never the less, The Thistlegorm is still a superb dive. Dropping onto her bow is quite a site, her starboard anchor chain plunging down to the seabed below. Swimming over the foc’sle railway stock flank number one hold. Dropping down through rows of trucks and motor bikes, it is possible to continue aft to number two hold passed "six packs" of rifles and aircraft wings. Number two hold is full of more trucks, boots and gives access to the 78
www.deeplens.com bunkering hold. This is very roomy and has a resident school of sweepers hovering in its upper reaches. Again moving aft, the wreck seems to disintegrate. This is where the bombs struck. Shells litter the collapsed hold and there are three universal carriers. Fifty feet to port sits the locomotive - bolt upright like her twin on the starboard side. All that remains is the smoke box-the boilers lie elsewhere and there is no sign of the engineers cab anywhere-as these contained many brass controls. Levers etc they may have been removed during a salvage operation.
The stern section lies over to port, and the aft hold has all but disappeared leaving piles of munitions scattered around. The 3.5"and anti aircraft guns still in place. Stern companionways around the weather deck make great swim throughs and more glass fish fill in the gaps. With care the rear accommodation area can be explored. Rounding the stern provides a view of her now motionless prop and rudder in 32 mtrs.
The return swim to the bridge section passes the triple expansion engine and here the force of the explosion can be seen â€“the deck is folded back on itself and above the galley hang sinks-upside down!. There are several access points to the bridge level, The radio room can also be located here Hidden under the upturned deck is the entrance to the galley, with it's ranges still intact. Swimming forward now, along companionways accompanied by Batfish, Jacks, Snapper and Barracuda, the true splendour of the Thistlegorm can be experienced. Here amidst drones, masts, winches and davits swim all the resident Red Sea fishes, and tucked away safe from the constant finning action of divers there are still bushes of soft corals surviving. Visit the entire foc'sle before returning to the shot line.
The experience of night diving the wreck is not to be forgotten .Torchlight reveals the Red Sea in all her glory, the coral encrusted metal alive with invertebrates her hull a mass of anemones, and every vertical face alive with delicate shrimps, crabs and other invertebrates. Basket stars and urchins patrol the decks and huge shoals shelter in the holds. Her foc’s’le is often the home to a huge turtle.
As more and more divers visit the site it becomes more difficult to truly experience the wonders of this wreck. Dive at the wrong time and you will see only bubbles-groups of 12-16 being lead through the wreck like a daisy chain- often facing on coming traffic in a narrow passage. Who gives way to who?. Without a doubt visiting the wreck from a livaboard is the best option, thus avoiding the day boat rush. Early morning over the guns or late afternoon over the bows watching the fish gathering the current can be very rewarding. Visibility tends to be best as the tide floods in from the Red Sea and poorest as it sills out over Sha’ab Ali TIMING IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!! Currents can be very strong, but with carefull planning make an exciting dive and the fish life is at its best. ALWAYS DECEND/ASCEND VIA MOORING LINES-EVEN IF IT’S THE WRONG ONE. And always carry a delayed SMB just in case……..This is a very busy site boats are coming and going constantly. A COMPREHENSIVE 100 PAGE GUIDE IS AVAILABLE FREE FROM DEEPLENS
M.V PORT FOUAD Initially a contender for the fridge wreck, however as the specification conflicts with the wreckage this wreck remains un- located-so far! The Egyptian motor ship, 779 ton, was lost on the Sinai coast 25th April 1954.Built as the LILIAS (ex PO,) by Edward & Co Milwall, she was a steel twin screw steamer, 190 ft x 30 with engines by Vauxall hydraulics. Owner Mustafa Mallam
; S.S. HURRIET. THE SHIP. Built in 1882 as the PETROPLOIS for the Hamburgh.Sud.AmericaDampfs.Gesells Co., she was a 2002 ton iron steamship, built in Hamburgh by Reinast’g Schiffsw.She was 285 ft long with a 25ft beam and compound 2 cylinder steam engines delivering 90nhp.She was responsible for sinking the VALUTA in thick fog of the south coast of England, In 1890 she became the PERGAMON, until 1896 when she took on her final name as the HURRIET. Her career came to an end at EL TOR, on the SINAI COAST of the Gulf of Suez, when she caught fire-news reports of the time her detail her demise;
“Constantinople, Feb. 24. – According to an unconfirmed newspaper report, the Turkish steamer Hourriet, which was transporting Moslem pilgrims, has been burned at sea. All on board are stated to be lost. – Reuter.” “Constantinople, Feb. 24. – The Steamship Agency confirms the destruction of the Hourriet by fire at the quarantine station at El Tor, but denies that there was any loss of life.- Reuter.” “Port Said, Feb. 27. – Hourriet (s), reported completely gutted, abandoned. Your special officer proceeding. - Salvage Association.” 81
www.deeplens.com (Shipping gazette .. . . March 3 1911 ) “Suez, Feb. 28. – Hourriet (s): Your special officer wires ship gutted, main and upper wooden decks entirely consumed, upper iron deck forward collapsed, fallen eight feet, pulling in ships sides three feet, main engines, boilers, practically intact. Ship making little water, has settled one foot since yesterday, leakage will undoubtedly increase as ship settles. Aida sending hand pump reduce water which will make ship safe for four or five days. After pumping out we return Suez. Egyptian Government ought to intervene promptly. – Salvage Association.” (Shipping gazette .. . . March 3 1911 ) “Suez, March 2. – Hourriet (s): The telegraph cable to El Tor is out of order, impossible to obtain any news, cannot communicate with your special officer. Danmark available, shall we make arrangements tow Suez? “Aida,” Egyptian Government vessel, standing by. – Salvage Association.” Suez, March 4. – No immediate danger to ship. – Salvage Association’s Special Officer.” (Shipping gazette .. . . March 10 1911) “El Tor, March 20. – Hourriet (s): Lying rocky bottom, position unfavourable. Weather prevents operations. – Salvage Association’s Special Officer.” (Shipping gazette .. . . March 24 1911) “El Tor, March 24. – Hourriet (s): Danmark made two trials main pump. Diver closed apertures, now fairly tight, portable pump installed. Present weather prevents continuing operations. Vessel two miles south harbour, exposed position. – Salvage Association’s Special Officer.” “El Tor, March 26. – Hourriet (s): Safely refloated, anchored Tor Harbour. Probably take three days prepare proceed Suez. – Salvage Association’s Special Officer.” (Shipping gazette .. . . March 31 1911 ) “El Tor, March 29. – Hourriet (s): Hourriet sailed. – Salvage Association’s Special Officer.” (Shipping gazette .. . . March 31 1911) “Suez, March 30. – Hourriet (s) arrived; beached good place. – Salvage Association’s Special Officer.” “Port Said, March 30, 3.5 p.m. – Hourriet (s) arrived at Suez under own steam with the assistance of Danmark.” “Suez, April 1. – Hourriet (s): Impracticable repair vessel, shell plating is distorted from water line upwards, all decks, deck erections, tween decks, stringers, etc., badly distorted, frames and reverse frames distorted and/or broken, no woodwork left, vessels bottom probably damaged as she was sunk on rocky bottom. – Salvage Association’s Surveyor.” (Shipping gazette .. . . April 7 1911 ) Stamped beside her entry in Lloyd’s register of 1911/12 are the words “Damaged by fire 2,11” and she is not listed in the Register for 1912/13. 82
SECTION 4 SINAI PENINSULAR~ S.S. DUNRAVEN
The SS Dunraven was built by C.Mitchell and C. Iron
The 2 compound engine fitted to
Ship Builders, launched in
1873. She was 270ft long,
inefficient cylinder and it required
28ft beam, iron hulled vessel
two huge boilers to generate
of 1600 tons gross. She was
sufficient steam to drive the
driven by both sail and steam-
engine under load. .Operating
pressures were at first very low
compound engine pushed her
and sail still had to be used to
along at 8 knots. The ship
extend the range of the vessel
was owned by W Milburn. And intended for the “spice run”- Britain to Bombay
In January 1876 she left Liverpool loaded with a cargo of steel and timber bound for Bombay where she was reloaded with spices, cotton and muslin for the return journey. On 25 April the ship ran aground on Sha’ab Mahmoud, close to Beacon Rock. The crew worked frantically to dislodge her and 14 hours after striking the rock she slid off, unfortunately this motion up set her balance and she capsized. 83
www.deeplens.com The second report tells how she held fast on the reef for several days, caught fire, burned for 13 hours and capsized, sliding down the reef to where she lies today. After the incident the Board of Trade held an immediate enquiry and found Captain Care to have been at fault. The board declared him negligent and revoked his Captain's license, the Master's Certificate, for a year. Discovered in 1979, by Howard Rosenstien, the Dunraven was to become a â€œWorld about usâ€? special, and as she was salvaged, artefacts such as Hamilton bottles, mugs, plates and even jars of gooseberries and rhubarb were found.
Howard Rosenstein with artefacts recovered from the wreck of the Dunraven in 1979. At first they thought the wreck might have been the Carnatic, until a bronze letter D turned up. There were also rumours that the vessel had been used by Lawrence of Arabia, but the Q ship HMS Dunraven was a different ship altogether. Howard now runs Fantasea Housings in This wreck is often dismissed as having little to offer, however those who take time to inspect her carefully will be rewarded with a glimpse into an example of a shipwreck from a nostalgic period in maritime history, and to the discerning eye and underwater photographer, she will always be a firm favourite. The upturned hull is covered in soft corals and still stands proud of the seabed, reaching up to within 18 mtrs of the surface, although certain sections are now collapsing in. It is possible to enter the wreck at the stern after viewing her distinctive and colourful prop and rudder, groupers and several batfish often hang out here.
Once inside, the huge cathedral like hull allows exploration forward toward a crack in the hull, which allows extra light to penetrate the interior. Recently a large section of the hull has broken away and indeed the whole hull is in danger of collapse, her decay accelerated by the extra oxygen trapped in the higher reaches of the upturned hull by divers using nitrox. A victim of her own popularity, large sections of the hull are now sliding down onto the seabed and her ballast stones litter the floor. It is possible to swim through the boiler and engine room area, restricted to single file, where her workings are easily identified, fly wheel, gearings, drive shaft and big ends and two huge boilers. Forward of this, a large shoal of glass fish hover above. Her masts and crowsâ€™ nest lie on the seabed off her starboard side, making an ideal foreground subject for wide angled shots of the wreck. The bow section complete with anchor chains is adorned in soft corals both inside and out and is very photogenic. Batfish, scorpion fish and crocodile fish reside here. The hull exterior is covered in hard corals and the wreck lies at a slight angle away from the reef, not at right angles as portrayed in some guides. It is possible to dive the wreck in one go and it is best to start the tourat the stern, swimming through The hull to the bow, back up over the keel ending up on the sloping reef behind, allowing for a slow curved profile back to the surface. Moderate currents often prevail over the wreck so good boat cover and safety sausages are advisable. All things considered this is an easy dive to execute. Indeed it is one of the most sheltered wrecks in the area and was always the start of our wreck safaris running out of Sharm. A sandy flat seabed, a good nitrox mix (say EANX32) can safely be used-a shovel would be required to exceed the MOD. The usual care should be taken with boating traffic overhead. Best to terminate the dive in the bay near the beacon if gas supplies allow!
M.V. JOLANDA (not YOLANDA!)
Owned by the Sea Brother marine Shipping co, the Jolanda was on a voyage from Piraeus to Aqaba , with a general cargo of plumbing bath fittings, a BMW motor vehicle, Linoleum and aluminium, with several containers of general goods, when she 86
www.deeplens.com ran aground on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsular, now known as JOLANDA REEF, after the ship. After 4 days aground she rolled over onto her port side, her bow awash, and with her stern hanging over the abyss.
LEFT; LAWSON WOOD, FRAMED IN THE KINGPOSTS OF THE JOLANDA, ENCOUNTERS GEORGE- A HUGE NAPOLEON WRASSE-KNOWN AS THE WRECK GAURDIAN OF RAS MUHAMMED RIGHT:THE BOW BREAKING THE SURFACE.
YES WE WERE THERE! LEFT;PETER COLLINGS BY LAWSON WOOD.RIGHT; LAWSON WOOD BY PETER COLLINGS.
EARLY IMAGES;TRYING OUT KODAKS NEW 1000ASA PRINT FILM BACK IN 1983 The wreck remained in that position for several years, slowly toppling over until it was totally upside down. Then one day the hawse wire holding it snapped and a great wreck was lost forever as it slid down the reef leaving behind only baths toilets and rubble. Lost that is until……….
The Jolanda Project By Mark Andrews, photo’s by Mark Butler, gas by Chad Clarke Deep diver Leigh Cunningham, working with fellow Briton Mark Andrews, has found what is almost certainly the lost wreck of the Jolanda, at a depth of 145m off Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. The ship sat precariously on what is now Jolanda Reef, off Ras Mohammed, from 1981 to 1985. She finally slipped off during a storm which managed to snap massive steel tethering cables. On 26 May, Cunningham found the wreck’s forward section, at a depth of 145m running down to 160m on a 45-degree slope. It is almost completely buried in sand. The rest of the ship, probably further broken, has to be even deeper at "sub-170m". Cunningham acknowledged that he had not positively identified the ship, but thought it had to be the 72m Jolanda, which carried bathroom fittings when wrecked. Lavatories and other items still litter the reef where the ship first grounded. “To my knowledge no other ships have sunk in this exact area,” he commented. “I would say it is highly unlikely the wreck is not the Jolanda.” The find came during a six-day diving project organised by Cunningham and Andrews. The pair previously trained together for a scuba depth record attempt at well over 300m, which was shelved in 2003 on health grounds. “We started with two days at Far Garden, getting used to big rigs,” said Cunningham. He carried six 12-litre aluminium tanks, Andrews five. “Then came four days at Jolanda Reef, progressively increasing in depth, with two deep mix dives to 150m then 160m.” “We found wreckage on our first dive on the reef, and several large ship containers from 60m to 83m,” Andrews states. On another dive, he noted a deep scour starting at
www.deeplens.com 92m, and that from 102m the seabed got steeper. The ship must have “built up speed here” before ploughing to a halt in the sand. Cunningham made the two deep mix dives alone. “Unfortunately Mark picked up a stomach bug mid-week, and made the hard but correct decision to skip the deep mix dives,” he said. He located the wreck on the first descent and, the next day, “stood on the deck, looking up at the bow” at a depth of 160m. The dives allowed about five minutes of bottom time, for in-water times of “a little over two hours”. Of ten support divers, eight came from Sharm’s Ocean College and Colona dive centres. Colona’s 25m vessel Diavola was used, and all gas mixes were prepared by 'Gas Man Chad' of Ocean Tec. Sharm’s helicopter rescue and hyperbaric facilities stood by for any emergency. Cunningham and Andrews plan to return to the Jolanda in August to dive even deeper in search of other parts of the ship. They would like to map and film the wreck. Cunningham works at Ocean College as a TDI Instructor Trainer. Andrews is Technical Director at the London School of Diving Leigh Cunningham and his 4 + 2 rig, returning from 160m, of gassing above some of t he more recognisable parts of the The Jolanda. Photo Adam Butler
So, just to double check, that's an 8/64 on the manifold, with a backup mix on the left, an 80% on the right, a couple of deco slings 15/30 on the left and a 40/15 on the right but where's the coffee ? PHOTO ADAM BUTLER
The Team from all over the world, without whom, none of this would have been possible.Thanks to: Colona Dive Club for the boat, Chad 'The Gas Man' for the mixes, Samy and crew of the Red Sea Search and Rescue for surface support and Dr. Adel Taher of the Hyperbaric Chamber 89
THE TUGBOAT AT SHARM EL MAYA This thirty meter long fire fighting tug was sunk in 18 mtrs during the Arab //Israeli conflict and sits on a muddy bottom in Sharm el Sheikh harbour in an area known as Sharm El Moiya, currently right under the crane which could raise her so she could be moved to a more convenient spot. The wreck is totally intact and lies with a list to port, and has a slight amount of coral growth. It attracts a reasonable amount of life including lionfish and morays, and colourful nudibranchs are often seen grazing on the algae. The wheelhouse is accessible and down in the engine room, is the resident shoal of glassfish, and her deck fittings including fire fighting equipment are still in place. Given the depth and location this is any easy wreck to dive and is suitable for all levels of experience. Attention should be paid to other boating traffic. The tug offers great photo opportunities with strong natural light , no current and few other divers to get in the way. I have always thought that the wreck could be lifted and moved to a spot where it would be more accessible, near Ras Kati for example. It would serve as a great check dive, attract a lot of fish and soon become colonised with coral. One lives in hope-
M.V. SAFIR The Safir was a 9,072 GRT Cargo Ship built at Austin & Pickersgill Shipbuilding Co., Southwick, UK, for the Northern Star Navigation Co. (Mavroleon Brothers), Monrovia, Liberia. The ship's keel was laid on 16 August 1972, launched 07 November 1972, and completed on 05 January 1973. The ship was 141 meters in length, 20.5 meters in beam, and 8.86 meters in draught, with a single diesel and shaft for a speed of 14.5 knots. The ship was renamed Ermioni in 1979 while still owned by the Mavroleon Brothers until being sold in 1982 to Yama Maritime Inc. and renamed Lori R. The ship was one of 8 ships purchased by the then, newly founded, Yama Maritime Inc. which was formed by the Nakash Brothers. The Nakash Brothers are the founders and owners of the Jordache clothing line. The ship was sold again in 1984 to the Seaman International Sg. Co., and renamed Safir. The
On 12 September 1989, after having departed Aqaba, Jordan with a cargo of 14,700 tons of rock phophate, the Safir ran aground on northern edge of Gordon Reef in the Straits of Tiran. Salvage efforts were able to later refloat the ship. However, on 18 September, the ship sank off of Ras Um EL-Sid at position 27.47.00N/34.24.18E in over 1000 meters of water with no loss of life reported.
THE TANK DUMP AT RAS PETER Immediately after the sinking of the Thistlegorm, salvage work began. Many of the vehicles were put back into use. Some stayed in the Sinai, and ended up within the Egyptian army. Amongst those were universal carriers. During the invasion by the Israelis many of these vehicles were dumped off the cliffs just out on Sharm El Miya. In a pyramid down to 40 mtrs there is a pile of vehicles, trucks trailers etc which have been overlooked as a dive site. The surrounding area is barren but there are some interesting artefacts to be found.
The Straits of Tiran are the narrow sea passages, about 13 km (7 nautical miles) wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea. It is named after Tiran Island where a Multinational Force and Observers has an observation post to monitor the compliance of Egypt in maintaining freedom of navigation of the straits as provided under the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. Sanafir Island lies to the east of Tiran, southeast of the shallow strait between Tiran and Saudi Arabia. These two islands have not really been explored underwater, and scant details of diving are available. Back in 1983, we found a beach which moved as we approached. It was feet deep in hermit crabs living in murex shells. If there are indeed
www.deeplens.com any wrecks here then they are not known to us. There are rumours of a shipwreck across on the Saudi side, close to a boarder post, but as yet this is unconfirmed. Access to Jordan's only seaport of Aqaba and to Israel's only Red Sea seaport of Eilat is contingent upon passage through the Gulf of Aqaba, giving the Straits of Tiran strategic importance. Egypt's blockade of the Straits to Israeli ships and ships bound for Israel in 1956 and again in 1967 was a catalyst, respectively, to the Suez Crisis and the Six-Day War.
Israeli gunships patrol the Straits during the Arab –Israeli conflict. It has two passages deep enough to be navigable by large ships. The Enterprise passage, 290 metres (950 ft) deep, is adjacent to the Egyptian side, while the 73-metre (240 ft) deep Grafton passage, surrounded by shallows, is to the east, nearer to the island of Tiran. To the east of Tiran, between it and Saudi Arabia, the other strait has reefs and shallows with a single channel 16 metres (52 ft) deep. The Gulf of Suez links the ports of Aqaba and Eilat with the main shipping routes north and south through the Red Sea. Aqaba itself is Jordans only port but also serves Syria, Iran and Iraq. A tremendous amount of shipping flows through these waters and at it narrowest point lie the 4 reefs of Woodhouse, Jackson Thomas and Gordon. Even when equipped with modern day electronics groundings are frequent, even the Royal Viking Sun ran aground, and more recently in December 2009 the CSCL Hamburg ran aground onto Woodhouse reef. Most vessels are eventually pulled off but not all, and not all become diveable wrecks. The reefs of Jackson, Gordon, Thomas , Woodhouse and Laguna are well known as popular dive and snorkelling destinations for local operators. Despite the area having one of the largest wrecks in the northern hemisphere, wreck diving is really an afterthought, although some “enlightened “ local divers have found the treasures of the Million Hope, while some technical divers have made use of the remains of the Lara.
â€œOn balance of probabilities looks as though sinking not fortuitous. Although one possibility is that these were intentional acts without the privity of and to the prejudice of the assured owner. Above if proven, might enable assured to establish barity, an insured perilâ€?. Annon Maritime Law Firm
(IMO: 7122699, MMSI: 341757000) WAS a standby safety vessel built at Hugh McLean & Sons Ltd. Renfrew, Glasgow. as the BOSTON SEA DART in 1972. Built as trawler for Boston Deep Sea Fisheries in Lowestoft, England.
PUTFORD DART Was sold in 1983 to Putford Enterprises in Lowestoft and was rebuilt in 1984 to Stand By Safety Vessel. NALEREQ In 1988 she was sold to Nuuk, Greenland, and was rebuilt to trawler/training vessel. Owned by Greenland Fisheries & Forsying GORM Moved to Hanstholm in 1998 and was once again Stand By Safety Vessel. Owned by Hanstholm Bugservice, Denmark THOR GUARDIAN Sold in 2006 to WWW.Thor.fo registered in Belize. Overhauled in 2012 RSS CORMORON Sailing under the flag of St Kitts & Nevis. As the RSS CORMORANT. Detained in 2016 . Owned by the Red Sea Shipping. Wimbourn ,Dorset. Israeli directors Dror Chayu, Kfir Magen A
Specifications LOA: 35.97 metres L: 33.498 metres Beam: 8.18 metres Shipyard: Hugh McLean & Sons Ltd. Renfrew, U.K. Year built: 1972 Material Steel 96
www.deeplens.com 36 x 8 meters. DnV-GL Class. 11 cabins and 28 beds. B&W Alpha main engine overhauled in 2012.
The vessel is very similar to an anchor handling tug,(although initially classed as a stern trawler) without the massive winch , and her stern deck cradles a large tank with hi abs for loading and un loading. A second cradle supports a RIB on the port side.. The wheelhouse is situated forward, with the engine room below. A commâ€™s mast rises from the navigation deck, and a large gantry stands high above her stern. A single guarded prop sits behind a rudder- not the kort type featured on the tugs.
DETAINED AT PORTLAND “The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced today that seven foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during July 2016 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.” VESSEL Name: RSS CORMORANT GT: 334 IMO No: 7122699 Flag: St Kitts & Nevis (Black List) Company: Red Sea Shipping Ltd Chester House, 81-83, Fulham High Street, London, SW6 3JA, United Kingdom
Classification Society: DNV – GL Recognised Organisation: DNV-GL Recognised Organisation for ISM DOC: N/A Recognised Organisation for ISM SMC: N/A Date and Place of Detention: 27th July 2016, Portland Summary: Seventeen deficiencies with three ground for detention Defective item
Nature of defect
Ground for Detention
01104 – Cargo ship safety radio certificate
18316 – Water, pipes, tanks
18422 – Asbestos fibres
Not as required
10105 – Magnetic compass
Not as required
10105 – Magnetic compass
Not as required
10104 – Gyro Compass
10111 – Charts
10111 – Charts
11128 – Line throwing appliance
18425 – Access/structural features ship
Not as required/damaged
01126 – Document of compliance dangerous goods (DGDOC)
10299 – Other (conditions of employment)
18326 – Laundry
Insufficient/ not as required
18306 – Sleeping room
Not as required
18309 – Berth dimensions
Not as required
18313 – Cleanliness
07116 – Ventilation
Not as required
This vessel was still detained on 31st July 2016 Realised 3rd AUGUST 2016
LAST VOYAGES Feb 24, 2017, 12:04 UTC JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA Mar 06, 2017, 15:48 UTC 'AQABA, JORDAN Jun 18, 2017, 23:04 UTC JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA Jun 24, 2017, 11:49 UTC YAS ISLAND, UAE Arrived Eilat July 17th 2017, departed 21st July The RSS CORMORAN Ran aground 1400 hrs 21st July on the Sinai Coast at Ras Camilla, near Gordan Reef in the Straits of Tiran and remained on the reef for 3 days with a heavy list to port . Her crew of 23 safely abandoned ship. From documentation found on the wreck she was under the command of Captain Sergiy Pekhtelev
THE SINKING After grinding into the reef the bow swung around in strong winds and the torn hull aided by open sea cocks ,allowed water to ingress, flooded forward, causing the ship to slide bow first down the reef, her bow resting in 52 mtrs of water at the bottom of the sloping reef wall. It is obvious from the on board evidence that the intention was for the ship to sink in deep water beyond diving depths- the chart does not show the ledge at 50 mtrs
THE FIRST DIVES The Red Sea Wreck Academy was soon on the scene, Anchoring the mother vessel at Gordan reef, with Peter and Ahmed making the first dive added by Luke (shotman) Middleton (absolutely no relation to…..) shoting the wreck at the first attempt. A Previous dive using a fishermans’ info proved fruitless. This first dive a duty of care was to establish not only the position of the wreck but its stability before allowing the research team and guest’s to explore her safely. We were blessed with superb clarity and no current. Ahmed can hardly hide is jubilation, think this is his first “virgin” wreck
www.deeplens.com The vessel lies bow down in the sand at 52 mtrs with her stern at 30 mtrs, with a list over to port on a superb little dived reef on the Sinai Coast. There is little or no life on the wreck although the first signs of algae are appearing. The bow is buried into the sand at 53 mtrs- the view skyward is amazing! Both anchors appeared stowed. I noted that ALL the hulk head doors were open on the foredeck with the ironic words â€œmust be closed at seaâ€?. I noted, a I swam up onto the comms navigation deck the compass binnacle leaning over with a canvas cover. The bridge interior was full of debris, but all her computers and controls remained in situ. As I drifted upward ahead of deco I noted the large tank on the aft deck its hull ripped open and partially imploded. The surrounding reef is littered with tins of food, cases of water and a sea anchor, all presumably drifting off as she sank. The view from 52 mtrs looking up
The compass binnacle rests over the toprail of the bridge
Her cargo would appear to be of liquid format, although the casing is ruptured, and may have been empty
John Womack eyes up a mast head lamp(port). He reluctantly left it in place.(This was ironically to be Johns last dive) 102
Rob and Vera our German branch of the RSWA hover over the incriminating evidence more open bulk head doors. Note the ropes running into the hatchway Team members Mike and Sue (bell finders.com) check out the Viking Reflector compass still in its binnacle
Presumably the blatant attempt to promote the ingress of water was never meant to be seen. The vessel was destined for deeper water, her secrets hidden for ever, but the wreck detective brings forth the truth - a Red Sea scuttle, yes another one! The Eperbâ€™s quick release has been disabled with a tie rap, doors tied open, bulk heads locked open and sea cocks open. Very few if any personal belongings were found. The rib had been launched before the grounding- the crane still swung out- not possible when sitting at a huge list on the reef.
lashed open, the door to the bridge allows for easy access and more evidence of her last movements The stern lies at 30 mtrs, a deep scar rising to the coral flat above.
RSWA members Pete, Sue, Mike, John, Vera, and Rob with members of Brighton and Skegness and guests as the sun sets over the wreck of the RSS CORMORON.
2018 footnote;The author has been contacted by her owner MR Mark Gray MBE with the view to joining us on a dive.He has assured me that the sinking was an accident, and the doors were tied open due toa problem with the a/c.No comment was made as to why the EPERB had been disabled.
A famous landmark, but alas, not a wreck. If only we had pulled her off when these images were taken (1983)Note the remains of a previous wreck off the bow. Built as the ANTONIA in 1952 the 3461 ton motor ship was built at Öresundvarvet A/B , Landskrona, Sweden for Rederi A/B Poseidon, Stockholm, she was 107.5 mtrs, x 14.3 mtrs, 8.49 mtrs, with diesel engines and a single screw for a top speed of 14.5 knots. In 1965 she became the Zschoau until 1978, when the ship was sold to the Blue Mediterranean Shipping Company Amman, Jordan. As the Lara she lasted only until September 9th 1981 when she ran aground on Gordon Reef, She has been a decaying landmark ever since, A forlorn life boat sits upright on the seabed ,60 mtrs below.
TAKEN IN 1983 Note the wreckage in the foreground…………...
The 4752 ton general motor vessel was built by KIELER Howaldtswerke AG in Kiel 1956as the Nopal Trader in Kiel, Germany for the Northern Pan-America Line, Norway (NOPAL Line). Launched 11 September 1956. She was 137.5 mtrs x 18 mtrs .She sailed between New Orleans, Louisiana, ; Houston, Texas, and Rio de Janeiro, ; Montevideo, and Buenos Aires, In 1978 the ship was sold and renamed the Krohn Trader. Then, in 1978, she was sold twice and renamed first, the Aghios Lefteris, and then the Crest Lion. Finally, in 1980, she was sold yet again and renamed the Lara.
In 1983 She was driven ashore and had barely enough fuel for the journey. For many years this vessel sat on top of the reef with her stern hanging over the reef edge. She was systematically stripped and all that remains above the surface is a skeletal frame. There is however an interesting "debris field" on the coral slope. Many fittings, pipes, hatches and portholes lie scattered around and are slowly being covered by a healthy coral growth. The wreckage extends down the reef slope into the depths below, but because of the lack of interest in the wreck there are many interesting bits and pieces At 48 mtrs a mast covered in huge soft corals comes into view, pointing upwards and towards the reef at about 60 degrees. At the base is a section of superstructure, probably the lifeboat deck, galley and workshops, lying over towards the reef in 55 mtrs. The interior had been completely stripped, even dividing walls had been removed, and making exploratory swim through's easy. Again this section is well encrusted with soft corals although there are few reef fishes at this depth.
www.deeplens.com DIVING THE WRECK Swimming out of this section a strange pointed structure appeared below; the solid structure is sectioned with oval cut outs and a row of studs running along its edges. At first it looks like a pointed vertical structure tapered at one end, which had fallen over. Swimming over the side the huge prop with 7ft flukes, a rudder hard over to starboard and the rudder post standing 2 mtrs high can be seen . This is the keel section of the LARA. The upper hull of this 40 mtr section was removed while the ship was still above water. Even so the prop and rudder made an impressive sight. In one of the topside shots the stern can be seen starting to break off. The superstructure had obviously been dumped after the stern section and had landed onto of the upright keel! I had not seen this part of the LARA since 1983 two days before the sinking of the Giannis D . It is a strange dive; the confused state of the wreckage plus a touch of the narks has kept us all guessing, never the less it is a very interesting and colourful dive, the corals are huge and profuse and the silence is deafening! with the added bonus of the debris field and surrounding reef to off gas on and all in all you have a great tech / extended range dive. It should also be notes that Hammerheads are often seen in the deep water around the wreck. If gas allows, itâ€™s a nice swim back to the south side where most boats moor, getting round the corner can be a bit tricky,itâ€™s a case of reading the reef and watching the antheas laying in the current
WRECK OF THE M.V.MILLION HOPE.
Built in Japan, at Koyo Dockyard, Mihara-Hiroshima as a Bulk Carrier, the Million Hope was launched as the "Ryusei Maru" in 1972. She displaced 26,181 tons gross and measuring 174.6m x 24.8m with a draught of 10m. with 5 cargo holds served by four massive cranes positioned forward of the bridge. Two 6 Cylinder diesel engines capable of producing 11,600 bhp gave her a top speed of 17 knots. Sold in 1975 when she was renamed Pacific Royal. Sold again in 1981 and named the Linngsbon until being resold yet again in 1987 and being given the name Feng Shun. In 1991 she was renamed the Hope and then sold once again to the Aksonas Shipping Company, Ltd., Limassol, Cyprus, in May 1996 and being renamed Million Hope
: EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT The ship departed Aqaba Jordan on 19 June 1996, enroute to Taiwan with a cargo of 26,000 tons of potash and phosphates. Around 10am the following morning we were diving off Gordon reef when one of the guests pointed out a ship bellowing smoke in the distance some miles up the coasts in the direction of Nabq. From 5 miles away we watched as the huge vessel ran aground. Our crew shouted as one “New wreck Mr Peter” It was to be a long 48 hours before we could get anywhere near the wreck to investigate. Her superstructure had been totally gutted and her wooden name plate had only 4 letters remaining H..O..P..E
OFFICIAL ACCOUNT Lloyd's List dated 24 June 1996 carried the following item under "Casualty Report": "MILLION HOPE (Cyprus) Jun 21: Egyptian Maritime Officials said yesterday they were concerned about possible leakage of about 23,000 tons of phosphate and potassium plus 700 tons of fuel from the bulk carrier Million Hope which sank off Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Cairo radio reported. All 25 members of the crew were rescued by Egyptian naval vessels and other vessels in an operation that lasted more than 20 hours. The vessel, on voyage from Jordan to Taiwan, was ripped open by coral reefs near Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh resort. The vessel's mainly Filipino crew huddled in the stern and refused to abandon ship until it became clear the vessel would sink, Cairo radio said. Some of the crew accused the vessel's master of failing to follow the area's
We soon realised that the wreck had run aground and crushed one of our favourite wrecks in the area- the Hey Daroma
As well as the total destruction of a huge area of reef and the wreck of the Hey Daroma, some of the phosphates leaked out of the crack in the hull, although much was salvaged. A strange algae bloom took place and huge pieces of lichen like weed tumbled down onto the reefs .The walls escaped harm as the dull green clumps slowly found deep water, but the plateau at Gordon was smothered in the stuff. Nothing seemed to feed on it and months were to pass as the algae rotted away to a brown slime. For me Gordon reef has never fully recovered from this intrusion and has lost a lot of it’s vibrant colour and life.
THE WRECK TODAY
In 2007 salvage work continued reducing the vessel to the water line. The superstructure some how ended upside down in #5 hold, thus reducing the stern to a flat expanse in shallow water and gapping holes down into her engine room .Several of the control towe4s have also fallen into the holds. Many of the holds have now split open due to the salvage work and indeed the effect of the open sea on her hull. At 174 mtrs long she can provide several dives in less than 25 mtrs. The initial crack in her hull now separates the two halves of the wreck and her port forward quarter hull has also collapsed. The stern still stands upright, minus her prop, but the bow has broken off and despite its enormou s proportions has spun round, foâ€™câ€™sle facing the shore. The staggering proportions of the ship make it an awesome sight underwater- Subject to swell but little current the wreck is now attracting a great deal of fish life and coral growths can be seen every where. 16 years on the wreck is slowly becoming a massive extension to the reef. The best place to start and finish the dive is the stern and it is here that a great surprise awaits-the salvage crane now rests upright on the sea bed in 24 mtrs with the lower half of her jib reaching for the surface. Within days of its arrival hydroids had coated the wreck and a huge grouper had claimed the jib as its own. Now, in 2015 the jib is as the local reefs once were. Festooned in vibrant soft corals, the lattice work a haven for glass fish and the obligatory prides of Lionfish which hover relentlessly looking for their next victim. Only a few meters below the surface , it would be acceptable to stay here for the whole dive with a camera-the opportunities are endless. Antheas too give this s reef like appearance.
The control cab is home to huge groupers and stands firmly embedded on the seabed, its caterpillar tracks sunk unto the sand under the weight. The upper part of the jib lies nearby on the sea floor. Overhanging like a huge cave the rudderless and now prop-less stern reaches 22mtrs high and breaks the surface. . Off the port stern is a debris field-many fittings, ladders, vent cowls and handrails have taken on a gown of soft corals –a photographers dream-catch the superb morning light-in the afternoon this is in shadow
Above Samuel my trusted DM from the Snefro fleet, left Tim Wheeldon, one of our longstanding RSWA members hovers over one of the ships crane control cabs, itself dwarfed by the surrounding steel walls of number 2 hold. The holds are beginning to fill with sand ,but still succeed in attracting large shoals of sea bream, jacks, macrel and often tuna
Swimming forward along the hull the wreck begins to break up, and access to the other holds is possible. Then perhaps the true power of the sea comes into view. The huge bow section no longer stands upright-it now lies on its side, fo’c’sle pointing towards the reef.The fo’c’sle itself now totally underwater. From here the route continues along her port side forward- a massive steel wall towers above until a A huge gash appears in the hull and it is easy to swim into this cavernous hold- a huge crack on the starboard side offers an exit towards the reef but a swim around the hold gives an impression of her size and this is only one of five!
Swimming back along the deck, hard corals are now well established and the gunwales flank the deck which is broken in several places. Aft of the holds the superstructure is all but gone,
www.deeplens.com but the salvage work has opened up the cavity above the engine-revealing 3 floors of workshops store rooms and machine rooms. A 30 ft lathe sits idle in one, while another hosts huge spanners still hanging on the wall, and there are oil tanks calorifiers, pumps, generators and piping. There is enough material to keep the wreckie happy for hours!-and all in less than 20 mtrs.
The power of the sea- the huge bows have been spun around having broken away from the hull.
The engine room cavity is now open to the sea due to salvage work. commpanionways
The weather is a major factor diving this wreck-with a swell running most skippers will avoid the site-calm conditions are best given that the final part of the dive is in 4 mtrs!. It should also be noted that the wreck continues to break up and with the best will in the world, the above information may quickly become outdated. Care should also be 115
www.deeplens.com taken when exploring the engine room-There is a great deal of loose metal-partly from the recent salvage and a lot of loose debris. However the wreck is a very easy dive-with only a slight current, if in deed any-visibility is often very good although a swell will reduce this. An A.M. dive will give the best light as the port side becomes rather gloomy in the afternoon.
THE CRANE WRECK 2018 The crawling crane mentioned above deserves a separate mention. It has become a living reef, its jib towering high towards the surface and is truly one of the most amazing structures underwater. Half of the jib lies on the seabed, again the crisscross structure is covered in soft corals. A veritable photographers paradise. Long may the locals swim right passed her.
M.V. HEY DAROMA In 1969 she was sold to the Israeli shipping line of Sefinot Ltd.On 16 November 1969 was attacked and boarded by Arab special marine commandoâ€™s who then ran her aground near Eilat during the conflict of the . Repaired and returned to service, she ran aground on 7 September 1970 at Nabq and became a total loss.
Built in 1944 for Burns & Laird Line, the 820 ton , 263ft long motor shipMV Lairds Loch was built in the Adrossan Dockyard and operated from Glasgow, initially to Derry and later to Dublin
Much of the M V HEY DAROMA is now under the hull of the Million Hope but her engine, Shafts and plates etc can be snorkelled, just of the starboard bow..
M.V. AYIA VIVARA. A Cyprian motor vessel of 968 tons, built in 1950, and 73 metres long. She left Aqaba for Port Said in ballast, and on June 27 1976 ran aground on the coral reefs north of Ras Nasrani, at the southern end of Nabq. Her engine rooms and holds flooded and she was abandoned, her crew being rescued by a Naval vessel. She lies on a broad stretch of reef near Nabq in 24 metres, with her dispersed bow section lying on top of the reef, (aiding to her location) and her stern section sloping up the reef listing to port. The bridge section, and funnel lye separated nearby. The wreck is covered in part with soft corals, invertebrates and a vast population of fish. Dolphins have often been seen here. The wreck is not as substantial as others close by but does serve as a good check dive. The superstructure is home to glass fish, lion fish and groupers. She is a mere 150 yards from the bows of the Million Hope. Note that the name of the wreck has been often miss â€“spelt, but documents recovered from the wreck confirm her as the Ayia Vivara, owned by the Gestar Shipping Company NOT the AGIA VIVARA, which sank in Saudi Arabian waters in the Jeddah Roads in 1996
S.S. MARIA SHRODER. Built as the Rolf Jarl, a 1,917 GRT "three-island" steam ship was built at Trondhjems Mekaniske Vรฆrksted, Trondheim, Norway for Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab, also of Trondheim, Norway in October 1920. She was 81 mtrs x , 12.8 mtrs x 6.8 mtrs.). CONVOY DUTY
In October 1940 she joined Convoy SC9 on the Sydney-UK passage. On 08 December 1940, departed Liverpool, UK, with Convoy OB256 In June 1941 the Rolf Jarl sailed with Convoy SL78, from Freetown to Liverpool August 1941, sailed with Convoy ON4 in the North Atlantic. In July 1942 she sailed with Convoy SC91, In August 1942 she sailed on Convoy ON122 in the North Atlantic .
She was sold to Reederei Richard Schrรถder, Hamburg, Germany, in August 1950 and renamed the Maria Schrรถder. On 11 April 1956, while enroute from Aqaba, Jordan to West Germany, the ship ran aground on a reef at Nabq Attempts to refloat the ship were unsuccessful and she was declared a total constructive loss. For many years she stood on top of the reef to the northern end of the NABQ region, a warning to other vessels. Built as the ROLF JARL in 1920 for the Norwegian company of Det Nordenfjelske, she was sold in 1950 to the Richard Schroder Company and was wrecked in 1956.After many years she succumbed to the storms and now lies in 27 mtrs hull upmost, below the site of her grounding. Many portholes still remain,(albeit cast) with parts of the wreck colonised with encrusting life and glass fish shelter in the overhangs. Soft corals have colonised some parts of the wreck, but there is still parts of the wreck which are bare metal. Visibility is not as good as in the Straits and good weather is needed to avoid heavy swells. Locals often dive her from the shore.
The Farah II was a 2866 GRT Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO/RO) passenger ferry built at Aalborg Skipsværft A / S, Aalborg, Denmark as the Prinsessan Margaretha for Swedish Rederi Ab GöteborgFrederikshavn Linjen (The Sessan Line). completed 22 March 1963.She was 91.3 mtrs x 17.2 x 4.3mtrs, She was fitted with twin 6-cylinder Nohad-Polar Type M-66-T diesel engines giving her a speed of 1618 knots. She could accommodate 1034 passengers, 140 automobiles and 10 trucks.
The ship was placed in service on the GothenburgFrederikshavn, Sweden route from 1963 until being sold to Oy Vaasa - Umeå Ab, Vaasa, Finland in early December 1968. In 1970, the ship was renamed the Polar Express. After a refit she was placed in service on the Vaasa-Umeå, Sweden route then the Vaasa-Sundsvall, Sweden route . She continued to ply familiar waters –until in 1982, the Polar Express is sold to Oy Jakob Lines Ltd, Pietarsaari, Finland, placed on the Peitersaari-Skellefteå service route until being sold again in 1984 to the Gulf Star Shipping Co., WLL, Kuwait City, Kuwait where she was renamed the AL Faris 3. The AL Faris 3 provided ferry service between Sharjah, UAE and Bandar-Abbas, Iran .Tthe ship was sold again to Mahmoud Abel H Sadeg, Sharjah, UAE, and then again in 1985 to Marine Right Sa, Panama and renamed the Farah II. As the Farah II, the ship provided ferry services between Aqaba, Jordan and Suez, Egypt until December of 1985 when the ship's route was changed to the Aqaba, Jordan-Port Sultan Quaboos, Muscat, Oman route.
On 06 March 1986, the ship was birthed at Nuweiba, with passengers and crew onboard when a fire broke out in the crew accommodation area. Fire fighting efforts were unable to contain the fire which then spread to the upper accommodation areas and bridge. The passengers and crew evacuated the burning ship. The ship continued to burn out of control for the next few days. As a result of fire fighting accumulating in the bilge areas, the ship took on a pronounced starboard list. A decision was made on 08 or 09 March to tow the ship out of the harbour away from other vessels in port. Once outside of the harbour, with the Farah II still in flames, the ship drifted south towards the Myserique area and finally sank on 09 March 1986
MV ZINGARA ZINGARA.(AKA KORMORAN) Built by VEB Schiffwerft at Rostock, as the "Kormoran" in 1963. 1976 saw her name was changed to "Adamastos." In 1980, she was again renamed Zingara. She was a 1,582 ton 82.4m long general cargo vessel, two main holds and superstructure aft.6 cylinder diesel engines gave her a top speed of 12 knots The Zingaraâ€™s final journey was from Aqaba on 21st August 1984 with a cargo of Phosphate Rock. Next day she ended up on Laguna reef and declared a total constructive loss. Her life as a diving attraction was almost short lived when the Royal Viking Sun ran aground only a few hundred meters south of the wreck area. Situated at the northern end of LAGUNA REEF, the wreck is easy to locate as her stern still breaks the surface. Today It is by no means a colourful wreck ,yet has a unique atmosphere all of its own and perhaps the presence of so many portholes is an added bonus. The wreck is totally flattened, with her stern awash, covering a large area of the reef, in only 8 mtrs. To this end any presence of swell can rule out diving the wreck. The hull and superstructure are totally flattened, with winches, and deck machinery standing proud. Huge sections of the deck lie at a slight angle and sections of her double skin provide cavities for fish to shelter in. Hawsers lie every where. By following the general direction of the wreck the remains of the bow can be explored with the name KORMORAN still visible, although loose plates at beginning to obscure this. An anchor chain runs out over the reef past her radio mast to a bank of superb staghorn corals Watch out for whitetips in the late afternoon. Large derricks litter the wreck and there are still many portholes both square and round.
www.deeplens.com Perhaps the most attractive feature of this wreck is her depth, ~ only 8 metres, and in the late afternoon sun the wreck takes on an eerie atmospheric light, and is superb for photography. Her intact stern complete with hand rails seem to have been positioned perfectly for the sun as it begins to set, as sunbeams dance across the stern. As a photographic studio she is ideal. Glass fish amass in the stern section and groupers are cautiously taking up residence. Small sections of the wreck are starting to be colonized with hard corals. The fish life is very active with colourful surgeon fish one of the predominant species. Moray eels too have moved in to the wreck, her plates and girders an ideal home for these photographic creatures.
As the stern hangs on the edge of the reef, this is the usual start point for the dive, and with the wreck well flattened and dispersed it is simple a matter of following the wreckage to the bow and back! Check out the stern interior-you will see the remains of a tiled floor, moving along the wreckage the engine is next followed by flattened sections of the superstructure, box sections and winches The bow is hard into the reef and some of the letters can still be seem swim around this section- there are some small sections to explore before retracing your steps back to the stern.
so ends our journey north through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez, now we head north into the Gulf of Suez in part 3 of DIVE EGYPTS WREKS and then beyond into the Med………..Now the real voyage of discovery starts…
PETER COLLINGS BIBLIOGRAPHYPUBLICATIONS 1986- 2015 123
30 YEARS OF PUBLISHING
PETER COLLINGS. Peter began diving in 1970. In 1983 he wrote the first of 12 diving related books and has won several international awards for his publications and underwater photography. His articles and photographs have appeared consistently thought the international diving press, Including SCUBA WORLD, DIVER ,DIVE, SPORT DIVER, SCOTTISH DIVER , H20, TAUCHEN DYKE & OCTOPUS A BSAC Advanced instructor, ( Red Sea Wreck Academy) SSI PRO 5000 DIVER and TDI Advance Trimix diver, Peter has lead over 500 wreck and photo safaris around the world, logging over 6700 dives, and along with his regular team of experts has located and identified many of the shipwrecks in Egyptian waters. To date Peter has written and published 24 diving related guide books.
"DIVE EGYPTS SHIPWRECKS!" is a 5 part work by International award winning author, photographer and wreck hunter Peter Collings. It is a book...
Published on Jul 11, 2019
"DIVE EGYPTS SHIPWRECKS!" is a 5 part work by International award winning author, photographer and wreck hunter Peter Collings. It is a book...