DICTIONARY OF EGYPTIAN SHIPWRECKS-A

DICTIONARY OF EGYPTIAN SHIPWRECKS- A

 

S.S.ABDEL KADER

A small Egyptian iron hulled vessel of 217tons, built in 1884, the Abdel Kader sank at Alexandria on the 4th March 1933.

 

M.V ABOUDY

 

Built in   1960 as the VILLE DE TENES, by Handel SCHPSB Kramer &Body originally designed to carry wine, she was 76 mtr long, 11.4 mtr beam, 490 tons, fitted with A 4sa 7 cylinder oil M.A.N.  engine. In 1962 she became the CAPTAIN SAINT JEAN until 1979 when she was bought by Nakhia & Sado Marine Services (Egypt) and was finally named the ABOUDY .

 

While carrying a general cargo, cargo 120 tons of aluminium and livestock. The ABOUDY sank off Ras Gharib in heavy weather on the 7th May 1988.  Running aground into shallow water, she capsized onto her port side and was deemed a total constructive loss. She was located September 13th 2005 by PC and members of Bromley BSAC, inshore of the Scalaria in shallow water. The wreck lies on its port side in a north south attitude with the bows to the north and her keel to seaward.

The bridge and superstructure are located aft and have collapsed. The holds which run continuously through the ship   still contain some of her cargo-hundreds of 120ml  bottles of cough medicine lie in the silt and the surrounding sand, and long lengths of aluminium extrusion lie in  twisted heaps. Two huge, and very photogenic A -frame derricks run horizontal, flanking the holds , served by 4 sets of twin winches and a radio mast runs out from the bridge area. The fo’c’sle has evidence of other items of cargo stored there. Handrails and flagstaffs are intact, and several bulk head lamps can still be seen. The prop and rudder are still in place in only7 mtrs of water. Because the wreck lies on its side the masts have remained intact, thus providing more “real estate” for both divers to explore and marine life to inhabit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wreck lies on its side, intact and makes a very easy long shallow dive, but calm weather will produce the best conditions to fully appreciate this shipwreck.

 

Several mast lamps, complete with lenses remain in their appropriate place Given the shallow depth there is plenty of time to explore this fascinating shipwreck- with the bonus of strong sunlight and varied marine life which includes shoaling yellow finned barracuda and fusiliers, emperor angle fish, crocodile fish, torpedo rays as well as encrusting corals and sponges on the hull and fittings. The site is subject to swell as the seabed is sandy and visibility can be greatly reduced in poor weather.

 

ABU SIAMMA

 

 

A TYPICAL FISHING TRAWLER, SIMILAR TO THE ABU SAIMMA

WHICH NOW LIES AT THE BASE OF THE REEF AT MIKALAWA ISLAND.

 

 

The sandy Island of Mikalawa or Saranaka as it is sometimes known lies to the south of Ras Banas and is and ideal overnight stop over. It also provides us with a sheltered deep dive close to shore. The island also has an interesting selection of birds.

 

 

When first dived a few years ago this small wreck of a fishing trawler was perched in 30 mtrs, now she is slowly sliding down the slope into deeper water, with her bow now in 55 mtrs. Little is known about the wreck, local information tells that she had engine trouble, put into the lagoon for repairs, struck the reef and sank. although it is clear that an aborted salvage operation took place. She lies very close to the reef, down a steep slope with her stern in 30 mtrs. Nets festoon the prop and rudder, and the keel has now dug into the seabed with the bow her deepest point. The bow is quite dramatic and the clear water allows for a great view of the trawler towering above. Although the wheelhouse is starting to collapse, it is possible to explore the engine room and her holds, as well as companionways and accommodation areas.  The wood is now beginning to deteriorate and holes are appearing in the decking and superstructure. The deck fittings are still in place and a resident family of batfish patrol the vessels gantries. By taking advantage of the wrecks attitude, divers can enjoy a deep dive with a slow ascent up the slope to the reef.Most if not all of the captains I work with have fishing backgrounds and the name ABU SAIMMA has been offered but so far is unconfirmed

 

The reef base starts at 15 mtrs and offers an ideal off gas after exploring the wreck. Sometimes called the Saranaka wreck.  The sandy Island of Mikalawa or Saranaka as it is sometimes known lies to the south of Ras Banas and is and ideal overnight stop over. It also provides us with a sheltered deep dive close to shore. The island also has an interesting selection of birds.

When first dived a few years ago this small wreck of a fishing trawler was perched in 30 mtrs, now she is slowly sliding down the slope into deeper water, with her bow now in 50 mtrs. Little is known about the wreck, local information tells that she had engine trouble, put into the lagoon for repairs, struck the reef and sank. Although it is clear that an aborted salvage operation took place. She lies very close to the reef, down a steep slope with her stern in 30 mtrs. Nets festoon the prop and rudder, and the keel has now dug into the seabed with the bow her deepest point. The bow is quite dramatic and the clear water allows for a great view of the trawler towering above.

 

Although the wheelhouse has collapsed, it is possible to explore the engine room and her holds, as well as companionways and accommodation areas. Entrance to the stern hold is through a covered doorway and the entire enclosed area is full of glass fish.  The wood is now beginning to deteriorate and holes are appearing in the decking and superstructure. This allows light to penetrate down through the floor.

The deck fittings are still in place and a resident family of batfish patrol the vessels gantries. By taking advantage of the wrecks attitude, divers can enjoy a deep dive with a slow ascent up the slope to the reef.Most if not all of the captains I work with have fishing backgrounds and the name ABU SAIMMA has been offered but so far is unconfirmed.

On top of the reef are a series of tall coral towers with some excellent sun lit caverns to swim through. These offer an alternative dive or indeed an ideal opportunity to off-gass after a deep dive.  The reef is alive with many species of red sea fishes and invertebrates. The caves and overhangs plus the sandy bottom offer many different habitats. In Less than 20 mtrs this plateau offers a very safe long dive, and snorkelling opportunities.

 

 

 

SS ADAMANTIA K

 

She ran aground on the north side of Gotta Abu Galawa on 25th January 1958 while in ballast from Port Sudan to Piraeus.  He bottom ripped out she quickly filled with water and was deemed a total constructive loss. Over the years she has broken up and is now well dispersed into the surrounding reefs.

      The steam engine stands up  above the wreck, almost to the   surface

The bow lies hanging over the reef flat, where her anchor chain can still be found. The foc’s’le is home to a school of sweepers. From here what was once the forward holds is merely flattened plates, on top of which is her boilers and then the single triple expansion engine standing proud to within a few meters of the surface. The anatomy of which is easy to see. The prop shaft can be traced aft to the stern where the steering quadrant, rudder and prop are be found. Masts and fitting spill off from the shallows into the sandy amphitheatre below.

Portholes still remain covered in a thick coating of coral and steam gauges can still be seen in the stern. Although not a substantial wreck, she is a great rummage dive and the surrounding seascape. The remains of the wreck have become a playground for all types of Red Sea fishes, and given the shallow depths ( max 12 mtrs) and clear water it is an ideal spot for photography. The are several fields of anemonies complete with colonies of domino fishes living in harmony with the clown fish

 

 

 

S.S.ABDEL KADER

A small Egyptian iron hulled vessel of 217tons, built in 1884, the Abdel Kader sank at Alexandria on the 4th March 1933.

 

ADEL LATEEF LOTFI

Built in 1915, a 209 ton general cargo ship on a voyage from Alexandria to Marsa Matruth foundered on 26th October 1936

 

 M.V. ALASKA 11

 

She was returning from Jeddah to Suez when entering the Gulf of Suez she caught fire 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.

 

 

 AL KHAFAIN

 al kafhain ashore

 

 

 

In 1967, three new car ferries were delivered to Coast Lines to update their Irish Sea services. The Ulster Prince and Ulster Queen replaced the pre-war motorships Ulster Prince and Ulster Monarch on the Liverpool-Belfast night service of the Belfast Steamship Co, and Lion took over the Ardrossan-Belfast day service of Burns & Laird. Coast Lines were purchased by P&O in 1971, and the Liverpool boats appeared in P&O Ferries colours with pale blue funnels.

 

 

 

From 1971, the service was marketed as P&O Ferries, although registered owners only changed to P&O in 1978. The Liverpool-Belfast service closed in 1981, and Ulster Prince was laid up at Oostende.

 

1n 1982 she was sold to the Pangloss Shipping Co and sailed under three names (MED SEA, AL KHERA, AL EDDIN until 2000 when she was sold to the  Helenic Mediteranean Line sailing as the POSEINDONIA and LA PATRIA. In 2004 she once again became the POSEINONIA, under the  Posedonia Shipping Co. flag. In  May 2005 she came under Saudi Arabian ownership and was renamed the AL KAFHAIN, registered in Panama. After a make over she sailed to Safaga to pick up her first passengers under the new ownership Her first voyage was to take pilgrims to Mecca.  The vessel was refused her safety papers and departed with only crew on board

 

 

 

 

Divers inspect the bow section of the Al Kafhain. Air trapped in her upturned hull caused her to rise and fall in the swell. Photo taken 2 days after she sank.

 

On Nov 7TH 2005 Peter Collings was in the area with members of Scarborough Sub Aqua Club and surveyed the wreck. The bow section-gleaming white in the strong sunlight  seemed to be buoyant-possible because of trapped air, and could be seen rising and falling in the swell-an incredible sight- 6000 tons of steel, this huge bow rising to the surface and falling back to the reef-pounding the coral. Both names “ULSTER QUEEN” and “AL KHAFAIN” were easy to read-even upside down! No one can dispute this identification! A helicopter pad could be seen just forward of the bridge a circled H painted on her foredeck. Amidships the gleaming white hull gives way to a scorched superstructure-evidence of her fire-windowless and dangerously beckoning-it would have been foolhardy to enter with the ship in such an unstable condition-already there are signs of the superstructure collapsing the smooth walls folding inwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her funnel appears to be digging into the seabed and appears to be all that is preventing her from tumbling down the reef. Life boat davits are all swung out their pulley systems dangling down towards the seabed. Towards the stern are her registration details-Panama- and her IMO number. The stern section has so far avoided any damage, with her stairwells, handrails and steering gear still in place.  Above the twin rudders and variable pitch props lie in shallow water, bathed in sunlight and provide a superb photo subject.

             

 

The bridge, viewed from the helicopter deck, totally gutted by fire and devoid of her new coat of paint

 

As I write, the wreck continues to break up, the weight of the hull crushing down on the weakened structure, making penetration very dangerous. The wreck will continue to be pounded by the relentless seas which crash onto this reef

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

AL SALEM BOCCACCIO ‘98

 

The Al Salem Boccacio 98 left Duba Saudi Arabia at 18.30 2nd Feb 2006, with 1400 passengers including 30 children and 100 crew. Amongst the passengers were many pilgrims, Palistinians, Syrians and 100 Saudi Arabians. She was due into the Egyptian port of Safaga at 02.30. There was also 22 cars, 14 trucks and one bus on board. Contact with the vessel was lost at 5 hours out. Fire had broken out in the car deck. The captain turned the vessel in an attempt to control the fire but the manouvre only fanned the flames passengers rushed to one side of the boat and she began to roll. At the same time water started to fill the car deck, increasing the list. The vessel sank within 5 minutes of listing. The area was experiencing a violent electrical storm at the time of the tragedy

 

 

“When things got really bad the crew just went off in the lifeboats and left us on board”.

“The Captain was the first to leave we were surprised to see the boat sinking”

Khaled Hassan

 

6 year old Mohammed Hassan was rescued after being in the water for 30 hours. He lost his father, mother and sister. Less than 400 were rescued.

 

 

 

S.S. AIDA

 

HISTORY

 

The Aida was built in France by A &Ch de la Loire, Nantes and launched in 1911. She was a much smaller vessel than the Numidia, 246 ft long, with a 31 ft beam and 13 ft draught , displacing 1,428gross tonnes and was powered by a single 3 Cylinder triple    expansion engine providing a top speed of 10 Knots. She had a compliment of 63. Originally intended for the Egyptian Ports and Lighthouses Administration, she was later transferred to Egyptian Marina and used to ferry troops. Her first sinking occurred during world war two when she was bombed by Heinkel 111, however she was salvaged and put back into service, and this is one possible reason she is often called AIDA 11

 

THE SINKING

On the south-east facing coast of Big Brothers Island, is an old jetty used by the Egyptians stationed on the island for up to two months at a time. Naturally, they require a constant supply of provisions in addition to a changeover of personnel.      On 15 September 1957, during heavy seas the Aida attempted to unload her cargo on the jetty and in doing so struck the rocks and quickly began to sink and the Captain had little option but to abandon ship. A Tugboat responded quickly and took off 77 personnel, the Aïda drifted a few hundred meters northwest before her bows finally embedded themselves into the reef. As the stern sank, it came to rest at an extremely steep angle on the reef, the bow section breaking off and eventually breaking up on the reef top. Part of her engine also ended up on the reef.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIVING THE WRECK

 

Although smaller than the Numidia, this wreck is more difficult to dive, not because of currents but because it starts at 28 mtrs and goes down to her stern and prop in 62 meters. However currents are milder and the site-200mtrs north of the jetty is more sheltered Again this wreck lies at a  very steep angle and it is amazing that it hasn’t slid any further down the reef, out of reach of normal sport divers. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you were back on the Numidia

!

 

S.S.AFRICAN GLEN

An American steamship, built in 1945, 5944 tons ,459 ft long, was caught up in the hostilities of 1967 between the Arabs and Israelies. Along with 16 other vessels she remained trapped until October 1973, when she was shelled during cross canal and sunk by missiles and shells from the Israelis. Her masts and funnel remained above water as she settled upright on the bottom

 

AGIA VIVARA,   This ship  sank in Saudi Arabian waters in the Jeddah Roads in 1996.An incorrect entry in other publications has lead to plagarists copying the error.It is not a spelling mistake they are two different wrecks !!!! SEE AYIA VIVARA

NOTE THE ENTRIES IN REDSEAWRECK PROJECT, SHIPWRECKS FROM THE RED SEA  AND THE EGYPTIAN TOURIST WEB SITE ARE ALL INCORRECT

 

AL-LOLOA (ALLOLOA)

A Panamanian RO-RO Ferry,2593 tons,92 x14mtrs, bound for Jeddah from Suez to collect pilgrims, caught fire and sank,13.07/94, 6 miles north of Safaga.Uss Briscoe attempted to contain the fire while USS Conolly rescued the crew.

 

ALMIRANTE BARROZO

Built in 1880, described as a steam  corvette, The ALMIRANTE BARROZO was on a world navigation  voyage and training exercise when she experienced compass deviation and ran aground near Jebal El Ziet in the Gulf of Suez. Then a lieutenant, Admiral Botteaux and her crew were rescued by HMS Dolphin, commanded by Lieutenant Christopher Cradock.Her master was Captain J.M. Batista De Leao.

 

She was 224ft long,33 ft beam 16 ft draught. Her armament consisted of 6 Whitehead 70 cal, 4 Nordenfelt 25mm and 6 Nordenfelt 11mm machine guns.

 

In 1895 a new vessel was commissioned, built on the Tyne by Armstrong Withworth and upgraded to a cruiser

 

 

 

 

In 2018 the wreck  Faisel Khalaf of Red Sea Explorers, who reported that the wreck sits upright in 70 mtrs

More to follow

 

H.M.T(R.M.S) ARAGON

Built in 1905 at Harland & Wolf for the Royal Mail Steam Packet shipping Co, the 9588 ton, 513 ft steamship was fitted with TWIN  quadruple expansion steam engines. Her compliment was : 306 First Class, 66 Second Class, 632 Third Class.. Launched on the 23rd February 1905 by Countess Fitzwilliam, Aragon was the Company’s first twin-screw liner. She made her maiden voyage on the 14th of July, Southampton – Brazilian Ports. She was taken over by the British Government during WW1, and employed as a troopship (auxillary transport)

 

Towards the end of 1912 the Admiralty decided to match the German policy by arming some British passenger liners, starting with RMS Aragon.

On 25 April 1913 Aragon left Southampton as Britain’s first Defensively Armed Merchant Ship (DAMS), carrying two QF 4.7-inch (120 mm) naval guns on her stern. Governments, newspapers and the public in South American countries that Aragon visited took little notice and expressed no concern. There was criticism from some serving and retired naval figures in Britain but the policy continued. Aragon’s sister ship RMS Amazon was made the next DAMS, and in the following months further RMSP “A-liners” were armed. They included the newly built RMS Alcantara, which in the First World War served as an armed merchant cruiser.

During the First World War the ship was requisitioned as a troop ship and became HMT Aragon. She took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, in which one source states that she began by taking the 5th Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment and Royal Army Medical Corps units to the campaign in March 1915. As the landings were not until 25 April, this may refer to troops moving from the UK to the Eastern Mediterranean in preparation for the landings. Her duties included evacuating nearly 1,500 wounded personnel to Alexandria and Malta.

 

On 8 April Aragon was in Alexandria where she embarked the 4th Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment. Both battalions were units of the 88th Brigade, which as part of the 29th Division had been ordered to take part in the Gallipoli Landings.

 

On 11 April she left Alexandria for the Aegean island of Lemnos, where French and British ships were assembling in the large natural harbour of Moudros in final preparation for the landings. On 13 April 1915 Aragon’s troops transferred to the cargo steamer SS River Clyde in preparation for the landing at Cape Helles 10 days later.

 

Later in the Gallipoli Campaign a British Forces Post Office, Base Army Post Office Y, transferred from Arcadian, another troop ship, to Aragon. BAPO Y later redeployed from Aragon to a land base at Moudros.

 

The invasion was a costly failure and in January 1916 French and British forces withdrew from the Gallipoli peninsula. On 13 February Aragon left Moudros for Malta, taking troops on leave including four officers and 270 men of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division (RND).

On 14 May Aragon was again at Moudros to withdraw troops; this time including the 1st Battalion the Royal Marines and elements of the 2nd (Royal Naval) Brigade. She reached Marseille in southern France at 0630 hrs on 19 May.

 

1916 Aragon served in the Indian Ocean. In December 1916 she sailed from Kilindini Harbour in the British East Africa Protectorate, reaching Durban on Christmas Day.

 

1917 Aragon spent two weeks at anchor off Marseille before receiving orders in December to sail for Egypt. She took about 2,200 troops to reinforce the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Empire, plus about 150 military officers, 160 VADs and about 2,500 bags of Christmas mail. She and another transport, the Nile, then sailed in convoy with an escort of destroyers for Egypt. On 23 December they reached Windy Bay, Malta, where the two transports stayed at anchor for four or five days.

 

Aragon and Nile then continued to Egypt with a fresh escort: the Acheron-class destroyer HMS Attack plus two Imperial Japanese Navy destroyers. The convoy weathered a gale ,and off the Egyptian coast at daybreak on Sunday 30 December it divided. The two Japanese destroyers escorted Nile to Port Said, while Attack escorted Aragon to Alexandria. On approach to the port Attack zig-zagged ahead to search the channel for mines while Aragon waited in Alexandria Roads.

The armed trawler HMT Points Castle approached Aragon flying the international flag signal “Follow me”. The troop ship did so, until Attack returned and signalled “You have no right to take orders from a trawler”. The destroyer intercepted Points Castle and then ordered Aragon to return to sea. The troop ship obeyed and turned back to sea.

 

Aragon and Attack were in Alexandria Roads about 8 miles  outside the port, awaiting permission to enter, when at about 1100 hrs the German Type UC II submarine SM UC-34 torpedoed Aragon, hitting her port side aft and causing extensive damage in her almost empty number 4 hold.

About 15 minutes after the torpedo struck Aragon, her Master, Captain Bateman, gave the order from her bridge “Every man for himself”. Those remaining aboard rushed to get over her side, and her bow rose out of the sea as soldiers swarmed down her side into the water. One of the VADs who survived later recorded “We felt that all our friends were drowning before our eyes”. About  20 minutes after being hit Aragon went down, and she suffered a second explosion as the cold seawater reached her hot boilers. Some of her boats were left upturned in the water.

 

HMS  Attack was now crowded with 300 to 400 survivors:  some wounded, many unconscious and dying. One soldier, Sergeant Harold Riddlesworth of the Cheshire Regiment, repeatedly dived from the destroyer into the sea to rescue more survivors. He survived and was decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal.

 

Then a torpedo struck  HMS Attack amidships and blew her into two pieces, both of which sank within seven minutes. The explosion ruptured Attack’s bunkers, spilling tons of thick, black bunker fuel oil into the sea as she sank. Hundreds of men were in the water, and many of them became covered in oil or overcome by its fumes.

 

Aragon’s surviving lifeboats now ferried hundreds of survivors to the trawlers, where the VADs “worked unceasingly and with great heroism” to tend the many wounded. Other trawlers came out to assist,] and the first trawler or trawlers returned to harbour for safety.]

 

Of those aboard Aragon, 610 were killed] including Captain Bateman, 19 of his crew and six of the VADs. Hundreds of troops were killed.

 

Many of the survivors from Aragon’s crew were repatriated to England, reaching Southampton on 10 February 1918 Some voyaged all the way by steamship, but the majority travelled overland.

 

The ship now lies at Lat: 31.18.0 N Long: 29.48.0 just outside of the entrance to the Alexandria Harbour in approximately 40-meters of water.

 

 

H.M.S ATTACK

 

A British Navy destroyer, built at Yarrow in 1914, was 252ft long and fitted with steam turbine engines and could make 29 knots. She was torpedoed while effecting a rescue on the RMS ARAGON (CF) ON December 30th 1917 her official compliment was 72, but many survivors from the Aragon were on board at the time.

The HMS Attack was an Acheron Class Destroyer (re-designated as “I” Class in 1913) built by Yarrow & Company, Scotstoun, Glasgow and launched on 12 December, 1911.

On 30 December, 1917 she came to the assistance of the HMT Aragon which had been torpedoed by the German U-Boat UC-34 (Horst Obermuller) at the entrance to the Alexandria Harbor (see HMT Aragon). While rescuing personnel from the Aragon, she was also torpedoed and cut in half, and quickly sank.

The ship now lies on the bottom near the wreck of the HMT Aragon approximately 10-miles outside the entrance to the Alexandria Harbor at 31.18N/29.49E in approximately 44-meters of water.

bhp, 29 knts.
Compliment72
Armament: 2 x BL 4-inch (101.6 mm) L/40 MK VIII Guns, mounting P Mk V
2 x QF 12-Pounder, 12 cwt naval guns, mounting P
Mk I 2 x single-tube for 21-inch torpedoes

 

 

S.S. ARCHIMEDE

A passenger/cargo ship built by A Stephen & Sons, Glasgow at the Linthouse yard No. 258; laid down for the Floria Line (I. & V. Florio & Co., Palermo), and launched on 22 November 1881 for the successor firm of Navigazione Generale Italiana (NGI). 2,837 tons; 106,70 x 12,19 meters (350.1 x 40 feet; length x beam); clipper bow, 1 funnel, 3 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion, service speed 12 knots; accommodation for 20 1st-class, 56 2nd-class,and 550 3rd-class passengers. 07 February 1882, maiden voyage, Catania-Palermo-New York. 18 June 1887, last voyage of 1887, Palermo-Naples-New York. 07 February 1888, only voyage that year, Naples-Cadiz-Montevideo-Buenos Aires. 03 March 1899, only voyage of that year, Genoa-Naples-New York. 14 March 1903, last voyage, Genoa-Naples-New York (40 roundtrip voyages 1903). 1903, transferred to the Italy-Alexandria service and renamed CAIRO and operated by South Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P Bonsor. 05 March 1905, wrecked near Alexandria at approximately 31.18N/29.48E in 50-60 meters of water.

 

M.V ATHENE

Built in 1938 by Armstrong Whitworth for the A/S Athene (Jorgen Bang), she was fitted with oil engines, 4681 tons, 345 ft long and developed 580 n.h.p. She was torpedoed off Alexandria on the 10th June 1941 and sunk with the loss of twelve crew and one gunner.

 

 S.S.ALBACHA

The Albachiara was a single screw steam cargo ship of 1,234 or 1,235 tons, 74.9 meters (LPP), and 10.9 meters in beam, with a cruising speed of 10 knots. Built in 1904 at the Schiff v. Henry Koch yard No. 153 in Lubeck, Germany for C. Tiede, Wismar, and originally named Anna Tiede. Sold in 1909 to Leith Lines and renamed Mecklinburg. Sold again in 1928 to Renato Durante, re-flagged and renamed Albachiara.

Sank by torpedo attack on 05 September 1942 by the British submarine HMS Traveller approximately 24-25 nautical miles north of Ras EL Tin Naval Base, Alexandria bearing 15 degrees.

 

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.

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

 

S.S ATLAS

 

THE VESSEL

The Atlas began life as the Conrad Mohr, built in 1909   on the River Tees at Middlesborough by R.C Craggs and Sons. She was 345 ft long, with a 48ft beam and 28ft draught. Described as a 4000ton steam tanker, fitted for bulk liquid fuel Her triple expansion engine was built by North East Marine Engineering Company and records show her cylinders as 25”,41” & 67.”,325nhp. In 1935 she was renamed the Irini, then finally the Altas, owned by the Soc. Anov. Hellenique Maritime Transpetrol.

FINAL VOYAGE

Sailing under the Greek flag the Atlas had left Abadan bound for Suez with a cargo of fuel oil.

LLOYDS WAR LOSSES SEPT 6TH 1940 page 122.

 “Atlas torpedoed by Italian submarineGuglielmotti, 14 miles north of Jebel Tier. Crew landed at Aden”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Italian submarine  Guglielmotti, which torpedoed the Atlas. She

Was a Brin classdeisel electric boat, built in 1938.She was 1247 tons,

2228ft long, had a maximum diving depth of 60 fathoms and carried

a 3.9inch gun+13mmA.A..She had 8-21inch tubes

Having eliminated the ATLAS as the “half wreck” at Sataya El Bara, we set about locating the ATLAS herself. Referring back to Jims diaries, his notes stated that the hulk was cast adrift as it began to founder as they neared Ras Banas described as a “sandy headland surrounded by coral reefs”. “Our attempt to make Port Berenice to make repairs failed and the hulk was cast adrift until it grounded in a sandy bay, her engine house still above water”

 

There is a further reference in Jims diaries that the superstructure was subsequently removed to the waterline and “the hull left totally flooded and deemed lost as more pressing matters were at hand”.

 

A rough sketch in Jims diary showed us the rough area in which the hull has sank- in 12mtrs of water in a sandy bay within the restricted area of the Port Berinice.

Initial brief dives (unauthorised!) have shown the hull complete with central walkway, pipes running the length of the hull to the break, valves and other deck fittings still in place. The superstructure has gone and what was not salvaged seems to have fallen into the engine room. There is evidence of debris buried in the sand and the visibility seems very reduced, due mainly to the lack of coral and presence of sand.

 

 

The shallow sections of the walkway with its vertical supports and cross beams are covered in sponges and sea squirts as opposed to corals, again presumably due the amount of sand and are home to a vast number of shoaling fish and many rays were seen on the surrounding seabed.

I intend to return at least once to the wreck – to place a memorial to a very remarkable man –Jim Delyln, salvage diver extrordinaire!

 

Once again fate has shown truth is often stranger than fiction –two tankers built 30 miles and 3 years apart end up only a few miles apart within 2 years of each other, and then only their stern sections!

  

M.V. ATTIKI

A 3360 TON,  104MTRS X 16 MTRS motor vessel, built in 1966 by Imabari Zosen, Imabari, and owned by the Greek company of Lanathos Cia. Bound for Port Sudan with a with a cargo of cement, she ran aground just before midnight, April24th 1978.with her holds and engine room flooded she was abandoned and then later caught fire

 

M.V. AVRA

 

A GREEK motor vessel built in 1943 ,988 tons ,206 ft long left Suez port with  1350 tons of cement on board on Dec 14th 1967 she foundered when a discharge pipe broke and her hull cracked during a storm. Her crew were all safely rescued Final position was given as  lat. 24 50 N long 35 16 E

 

S.S.ARWA

Owned by the South Yemen Shipping co., this 304 ft, 1584 ton steamship was built in 1934.She arrived at Adabiya on September 28th 1973 to load  a cargo of cement. On the 5th October loading had to be abandoned due to shelling by Israeli Artillery. The hatches battened down and the crew fled ashore.The vessel sank with 1439 tons of cement on board

 

 

SS AYAMONTE

The S.S Ayamonte was built in 1899 at BremerVulkan for the Argo DG of Bremen, and was 903 tons, 180 ft long with triple expansion engines. She remained in German ownership until1925 when she was sold to Cowasjee & Dinstaw of London. According to the war diaries she was sunk on October 4th 1942, and the coordinates given match this location. However the cause of loss was a collision with the SS NIRPURA who picked up the survivors. It is feasible that the ship drifted ashore before sinking

 

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 –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 AYLING

The 2626 ton Chinese steamship was torpedoed and sunk on march 18th 1943 between the Libyan border and Alexandria, by U boat with the loss of  seven crew and two gunners. She was 310 ft long, fitted with turbine engines

 

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