DICTIONARY OF EGYPTIAN SHIPWRECKS-C

 

 

H.M.S. CALCUTTA

On 25th June 1940, the Calcutta left St. Jean de Luz at night with two destroyers of the Canadian Navy, HMCS Fraser and HMCS Restigouche to aid  in the rescue of refugees trapped in the Bordeaux area by the German military. In rough seas, at night  and in  poor visibility, HMCS Fraser, collided with  Calcutta  with  such force that the lighter vessel was sliced into three . Forty-five crew members were killed  on Fraser and nineteen men from the Calcutta lost their lives.  16 officers and 134 men were rescued. She returned to Plymouth and underwent repairs and refit until the end of July 1940.

On 15 September 1940 the British battleship HMS Valiant, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, the heavy cruiser HMS Kent and 7 destroyers left Alexandria. The next day, while south off Crete they were joined by the Anti-Aircraft cruisers HMS Calcutta and HMS Coventry. The force then sailed toward Benghazi. During the night of 16/17 September, aircraft from the Illustrious, mined the harbour of Benghazi. They also attacked shipping in the harbour with torpedoes. The Italians lost 2 destroyers and two merchants. Her final duty, while under the command of CPT.D.M.LEES, was assisting in the evacuation of British and Greek forces  from Crete in May 1941.She was attacked by Junkers JU88 bombers north west of Alexandria, being struck by 2 bombs  she was sunk on the 29th May with the loss of two officers, and 114 ratings .There were 255 survivors

 

M.V.CAPE CLEAR

 

The Cape Clear was a cargo ship of 5,085 GRT built at Lithgows Ltd. (Yard No. 906), Glasgow, Scotland, for Cape York Motorship Co., Ltd. (Lyle Shipping Co.), Glasgow, Scotland. Launched 08 May 1939, and completed the following August, the ship was 134.6 meters in length, 17.3 meters in beam, and 8.2 meters in draught. Propulsion was provided by a single diesel engine generating 599 nhp to a single screw for a speed of 12 knots. Engines built by Rowan David and Co. Glasgow.

There isn’t much available information concerning the ship’s history. It is known that on 27 February 1941 the ship was damaged when she struck a mine off the Mersey. I have been unable to locate any additional information about the ship until 1944.

On 21 August 1944, while north-bound in the Gulf of Suez enroute to Hampton Roads, UK from Basra, the ship was involved in a collision with the U.S. Liberty Ship Henry Dearborn. The Cape Clear sank as a result of the collision in 55-60-meters of water between the north and south-bound shipping lanes “Off Ras Gharib”

 

DIVING INFORMATION

 

The wreck sits upright on a flat seabed, and due to the depths is a normoxic trimix dive. She is a big wreck- some 30mtrs longer than the Thistlegorm. The stern section lies over to port, with the masts sections rising up several meters and covered in soft corals. All of the wooden hatch covers, decking and bulkheads have rotted away, making penetration easier. The engine room is huge, her diesel power units untouched. Catwalks surround the main engines and there are several workshops of to the side, in all there are 4 floors of the engine room her holds and engine room are fairly open,

The bridge and accommodation superstructure and also reduced to framework, and are open both on vertical bulkheads and floor/ceilings. Much of the wreck is draped in nets adding to the other problems with the depth and location of the wreck.

 

THE   S.S. CARINA

 

 

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 5thtime “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.

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.

 

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?

Had she been on fire?

  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 “dispersed” 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.

 

 

 

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 derived from her sails. A famous ship of her day and considered luxurious at he time. Archive photo’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 £40,000 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 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 area’s to explore with her primitive engine, gears,  condensers and boilers to be seen.

         

 

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.

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 BISN    CHAKDINA

Launch Date: 22 September 1914
Completion date: 11 December 1914
Type: Passenger/Cargo
Tonnage: 3033
Builder: Ramage & Ferguson, Leith (Yard239
Owners: British India S.N. Co. Ltd., Glasgow
Propulsion: Single Screw, 12 knots cruising speed

dimensions: 100.8 meters   Beam: 14.1 meters
The B.I.S.N. steamer “Chakdina” was built in 1914 at the outbreak of WW1. On January 13, 1940 it was requisitioned by Admiralty as an armed boarding vessel. In company with another similar vessel, the cased petrol carrier S.S. “Kirkland”, it was returning from a supply trip to Tobruk back to the 62nd General Hospital in Alexandria with some 300 British wounded and 100 prisoners including the German general, von Ravenstein, on December 5, 1941, when at 21.35 hours at 32.11N and 24.30E it was torpedoed by the German submarine U.81 commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Guggenberger .

 

There are however eye witness reports that the ship was actually sunk by torpedo-bombers. Peter Bates, a New Zealand journalist then serving with the Supply Company of the New Zealand Division was on the “Kirkland”. in his book “Supply Column” (M37) writes: “At 9.30 pm there was a sudden shout on board the “Kirkland”, a swirl of movement as the crew rushed for the freighters ack-ack protection – 12 m/g’s plus a Breda – and the ship began to spit fire into the sky. Then there was another heavy explosion and another shout: “The bloody “Chakdina’s” gone”. The “Chakdina” – 100 yards away across the moonlit water – was sinking after having been hit by a torpedo. In three and a half minutes the water had closed over her. Then there was another explosion and the sea boiled as the boilers burst. Of the 381 on board, few below escaped and others were drowned when the fast sinking ship dragged them down. 17 Australian POW were drowned including 12 members of the 2/13th Inf Bn.

Peter Bates is of the opinion that the torpedo was released by German aircraft. Some 200 survivors were rescued by the British destoyer H.M.N. “Farndale” and another 60 by a Norwegian whaler “Thorgrim”. Rowland Ryder in his book “Portrait of a German General” (M27 p106) states that Von Ravenstein said when rescued that the “Chakdina” had been attacked by an Italian Savoia torpedo-bomber.

2ND ACCOUNT OF SINKING
Armed boarding vessel commandeered by the British in Tobruk to evacuate their wounded. Acting as a hospital ship it sailed from the harbour with 380 wounded soldiers on board including 97 New Zealanders. Some officers and medical personnel were also accompanying the wounded. The ship was heading for Baggush, the H/Q of the 2nd N.Z. Division. At 9 o’clock in the morning an Italian Savoia Marchietta 79 plane dropped a torpedo which struck the ship in the after hold. It took only three minutes for the Chakdina to sink giving the wounded little chance to escape. Those who were not severely wounded managed to reach the escort destroyer HMS Farndale which picked up eighteen New Zealanders from the water. All the medical staff, except one, were saved. In all, 79 persons lost their lives. The Farndale reached Alexandria two days later and the survivors admitted to the No. 3 New Zealand General Hospital.
CLARK CHAPMAN WRECK

 

Red herring-makers plate on one of the wrecks winches-they had been recycled and fitted to this wreck after the original vessel was scrapped.

 

I had heard a story about a cargo ship arriving at the port of Safaga full of luxury goods-video machines, and other electrical goods, inbound from Saudi Arabia. Customs immediately slapped a huge duty on the cargo and a dispute ensued. The ship lay at anchor while the disagreement over duty payments rolled on. Eventually word got out the ship was sitting at anchor un manned-the crew paid off as the dispute continued –easy pickings and a ready market for such sought after goods. Then one day she disappeared-rumours said she was scuttled by her owners to finally end the dispute. I asked my source of this highly probable tale for a name. He came up with EAST STAR.

 

MV EAST STAR.

Built in174,and described as an Egyptian cargo vessel, The East Star did indeed visit Safaga in March 2000. She had put in with “severe engine problems” and official reports from Lloyds quote her as being towed to Alang where she was beached and  scrapped in 2001

 

Only 300mtrs away  from the EL ARISH we found a  small cargo ship about 70 mtrs long, lying on its starboard side with much of its cargo spilled onto the muddy seafloor. Electrical goods, kettles, flasks, carpets lay every where. Our exploration also revealed her seacocks were open-she had been scuttled! This time we found no bell, no name on her bow or stern. Could it be the EAST STAR- were the official records wrong? Certainly the eevidence backed up the story of the looted ship.

 

We needed a break-we needed some clue to help in  her identification. Several dives produced only details of her encrusting species and inhabitants, and interesting as they were they didn’t tell us anything! Then we found name plates on her winches, and next to the name plates serial numbers. The name on the plates read “CLARK CHAPMAN, GATESHEAD, ENGLAND”

 

Gateshead off course lies on the south side of the Tyne, and many supporting shipbuilding industries have flourished there. Returning back to the north east of England I contacted Clark Chapman-they had sold the marine division to Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce came up a name within an hour of seeing the serial number, The winches had been fitted to the ….

M.V UM SABER an Egyptian vessel built in Budapest, Se was244ft long, with her machinery aft, 1266tons   fitted with oil 4sa 8cylinder diesel engines, built by Laings for the Egyptian Navigation company of Alexandria. later in1981, now ice strengthened she became the EL IMAN MOSLEM and owned by Hussien Said Fanaki. Officially scrapped in  March1986 at Brodaspas, SplitYugoslavia

It is not unusual for ships parts to be recycled-the winches from the Um Saber had obviously been reused on our “Clark Chapman wreck” but is it indeed the EAST STAR?

THE WRECK

Lying in 35 mtrs on her port side, she is an intact, stable  wreck, with only some structural damage to her superstructure. All of her fittings are in place, there has not been an salvage to the wreck. With no cargo hatches visible, the cargo has spilled out of both holds, which are flanked by winch gear and tall masts running out horizontally. There are many areas of the wreck to explore including her foc’s’le.

Given the depth it is possible to swim from the stern along through the holds to the bow, rising up a few mtrs and returning along her port  (upper) gunwales. The wreck supports great fish and encrusting marine life, and needs several dives to fully explore her.

To date she has not given us any more clues to her identity and thus will remain known as the “CLARK CHAPMAN WRECK, ” until she tells us otherwise.

 

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.

 

  

HMS CORMORANT

HMS Cormorant was a 6th rate Frigate of 20-guns built at Havre de Grace in 1793 as the French ship L’Etna with a length of 119.5 feet and 33 feet in beam. On 13 November 1796 she was captured by the British ships Melampus and Childers and renamed Cormorant in 1797.

On 20 May 1800 under the command of Captain Courtney Boyle she was wrecked on the coast of Egypt when she ran aground on a shoal 3.5 miles from the Bogaz of Rosetta at 31.25N/30.20E. The crew was rescued but were made prisoners by the French.

 

 

 

M.V.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 survivedthe 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!

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 excited- he 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 “experts” 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 GEO SERVICES

 

 

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

 

RSS CORMORANT

“On 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 peril”.

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

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 comm’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 Incomplete No
18316 – Water, pipes, tanks Damaged No
18422 – Asbestos fibres Not as required No
10105 – Magnetic compass Not as required No
10105 – Magnetic compass Not as required No
10104 – Gyro Compass Inoperative No
10111 – Charts Missing Yes
10111 – Charts Not updated No
11128 – Line throwing appliance Expired No
18425 – Access/structural features ship Not as required/damaged No
01126 – Document of compliance dangerous goods (DGDOC) Missing Yes
10299 – Other (conditions of employment) Missing Yes
18326 – Laundry Insufficient/ not as required No
18306 – Sleeping room Not as required No
18309 – Berth dimensions Not as required No
18313 – Cleanliness Not hygienic No
07116 – Ventilation Not as required No

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.

 

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 “must be closed at sea”. 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.                            

 

 
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)

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 Eperb’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.

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.

 

S.S CALEDONIAN

The Caledonien was a French steel-hulled passenger ship of 4233 GRT built at Cie. des Messageries Maritimes, La Ciotat (Yard No. 54) for Ce. des Messageries Maritimes, Marseille. Unable to locate dimensions of this ship. However, throughout the life of the ship numerous upgrades were made to the propulsion machinery and accommodations.

The Caledonien was the third in a a series of seven vessels rigged as a three-masted barkentine built for use by the Austrailian company Couriers Maritime Company under the Convention of 1881. The hull plans were used for other ships built later (the Saghalien built for a Chinese line in 1890, for example). The Caledonien propulsion machinery was upgraded in 1895 to a triple-expansion steam turbine providing 4,000 HP and a speed of 16 knots. Other upgrades and improvements included extending the aft main deck outdoor overhead, enhancements to fireplaces, tables, yards, repainting the hull white with two narrow dark yellow stripes.

she operated between Marseilles, the Seychelles, Reunion, Maritius, Austrailia, and New Caledonia between 1882 and 1895. She was also used for a short period in 1900 on the Levant and the Indian Ocean in 1901. One equipment casualty was recorded in 1901 as being a loss of the propeller shaft in which she was towed to Marseilles by the S.S. Himalaya of the P & O Line and repaired. From then, until requisitioned for war service by the Ministry of War Transport (MOWT) on 30 June 1917, she made various passages to the Far East, Austrailia, Egypt, and the Indian Ocean as required.

After being requisitioned for war service as either a troopship or for postal service (sometimes they were the same thing), the Caledonien was enroute to Madagascar on the Marseille-Madagascar route, under escort of the General Fallieni and Theyelli, when on 30 June, 1917 she struck two mines laid by the German submarine UC-34 (Robert Sprenger) on 28 May 1917 approximately 30-34 miles from Port Said at location 31.45N/32.23E

.

The ship sank in about 4-minutes while at the rear of the convoy. The mine explosion damaged many of the lifeboats, making rescue of the ships crew and passengers difficult. 51 lives were reported lost.

 

S.S. CAMERONIAN

The Cameronian began life as the “Kamerun” of the German company Hamburg-Amerika Line (now known as HAPAG-Lloyd) in 1913 and was in service in West Africa during 1914 and 1915. She was5861 tons,428ft x 5ft x29ft and fitted with quadruple steam engines.She was found derelict in the Kamerun River by the British ship HMS Cumberland in 1915 and a prize crew delivered the ship to Liverpool where a prize court gave her to the Leyland Line. During WWI she was pressed into military service as an armed transport (H.T. or H.M.T.). The following is an account of the sinking of the ship on 02 June 1917 from the Dictionary of Disasters During the Age of Steam 1824-1962 (Charles Hocking)

“In the early morning of June 2nd, 1917, the Cameronian, Capt R. Roberts, carrying a large number of mules, with a few soldiers to look after them, was torpedoed by a subMarine when 50 miles N.W. by N. one quarter N. of Alexandria, her destination.  Unfortunately, a number of men were asleep in hammocks on the lower deck.  The explosion flooded this deck and all the men were drowned, the ship sinking in five minutes.”Those lost included Capt. Roberts, two army officers and 30 other ranks, and one officer and nine men of the crew.

The ship was torpedoed by the UC-34 (Robert Springer) at 31.53N/29.19E in over 1000 meters of water.

M.V CAPTAIN FOUAD

The Captain Fouad was originally built as the Atlantic Forwarder, a 519 GRT. cargo ship built at Schürenstedt KG Schiffswerft und Bootswerft, Bardenfleth (Berne), Germany (Yard No. 1342) in 1968 (Owner Unknown). The ship had an overall length of 74.1 meters and beam of 11.6 meters. Propulsion was provided by diesel engines, a single shaft and had a maximum speed of 12.5 knots.

The ship changed names three times during her lifetime, with the first name change occurring in 1974 to Hadan, again in 1979 to the Carolina V, and then again in 1997 to the Captain Fouad.

The ship was registered in Belize as records found to date indicate that the ship, registered as Belize, was detained in Rhodes, Greece on 22 March 1999 as a result of violations of Port State Control Officer’s (PSCO) inspections in that port (violations and discrepancies not listed). The ship was given 14-days to correct the deficiencies noted in the inspection report.

On 23 August 1999, the Captain Fouad is again shown as being registered in Belize after being given an administrative fine of $10,000 USD for unknown reasons while in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The Loss of the Ship:
Lloyd’s Casualty Report dated 17 June 2000 states that the Captain Fouad, carrying an unknown cargo, experienced a fire and explosion onboard. The ship was anchored at the entrance to Alexandria Harbour and subsequently sank later that same day.

M.V.CALYPSO TRADER

Built in 1959, the 2880 ton Panamanian motor cargo vessel was on a voyage from Crotone to Basram with a cargo of Sodium Tripoly-phosphate in bags when she sank of Alexandria  on the 21st July 1978 at 33.30N 27 40E

S.S.CASSIANI

A 538 ton Egyptian general cargo steamship, was  bound for Marsa Matruth when she foundered  west of Alexandria on the 6th Feb 1928

CLAN MC BRIBE

Official No. 144233. Grt 4635 Nrt 2775  384.8 X 52.0 X 26.7 Feet.

11.11.1920 Launched and 12.1920 completed by Lithgows Ltd, Port. Glasgow. (Yard No 728 ) for The Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 27.4.1943 lost after fire and stranding at Alexandria.

 

S.S.CLAN MacINDOE

The Clan MacIndoe(official No. 144233) built by Lithgows of Port Glasgow in
Yard No. 728 for the Clan Line Steamers, Ltd. (Cayzer, Irvine & Co.) and launched
on 11 November, 1920 and completed in December of that same year. 4635 Grt
with a length of 384.8 feet, 52 feet in beam, and 26.7 feet in draught she was
registered in Glasgow, Scotland.

Reported on fire 15 April, 1943, beached off Alexandria on 27 April.
Considered a total constructive loss

 

S.S.CLAN  MacNEIL

The Clan MacNeil was a Turret Deck Steamer built by W. Doxford and Sons Ltd. Sunderland Yard No. 307 for the Clan Line Steamers (Cayzer, Irvine & Co.)Launched 13 May, 1903 and completed in July of that same year.

On 11 September, 1917 the ship was attacked by a submarine west of Gibralta
and escaped when the torpedo missed. While on a voyage from Karachi to
Marseilles with a cargo of grain and onions, she was attacked by German
submarine UC-34. The ship was torpedoed and sunk approximately 10 miles north
of Alexandria,  at 31.21N/29.48E in 125-135 meters of water

 

S.S.CIVILIAN

She was a steamship of7,871 tons built by Chas. Connell & Co., Glasgow in 1902 for Charente Steamship Co., Ltd., (T & J Harrison), Liverpool. The ship was carrying general cargo when she was sunk on 16 October 1917 by the German submarine UC-74 (Wilhelm Marschall) fifteen miles north of Alexandria with the loss of two lives

H.M.S COVENTRY

 

LEFT .A commemorative plaque celebrating the launch of the HMS COVENTRY. RIGHT;the ship under sea trial

 

On 15 September 1940 the British battleship HMS Valiant, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, the heavy cruiser HMS Kent and 7 destroyers left Alexandria. The next day, while south off Crete they were joined by the Anti-Aircraft cruisers HMS Calcutta and HMS Coventry. The force then sailed toward Benghazi. During the night of 16/17 September, aircraft from the Illustrious, mined the harbour of Benghazi. They also attacked shipping in the harbour with torpedoes. The Italians lost On the 13th December 1940 HMS Coventry was torpedoed and damaged by the Italian submarine Neghelli in the eastern Mediterranean

On Sept 14th,1942 she was attacked by Ju 87 Stuka’s, and sunk north west of Alexandria. The Italians lost 2 destroyers and two merchants.

 

 

H.M.S .CROMER

The HMS Cromer was a 672 GRT. Blyth Class (Bangor Class Type II) Minesweeper built at Lobnitz & Co. Ltd., Renfrew, Scotland (Yard No. 1028) for the British Navy. Her keel was laid down on 16 May 1940, launched 07 October 1940, and completed 04 April 1941. The ship was 49.4 meters in length, 8.5 meters in beam, and 2.51 meters in draught. Propulsion was provided by 2 Admiralty 3-drum small tube-type boilers, 2 triple-expansion engines (2,400 IHP), and twin screws for a top speed of 16 knots.

Armament consisted of a single QF 12-pdr 3-inch (76.2 mm) gun, one quadruple 0.5 in (12.7 mm) Vickers machine gun, and a single QF 2-pdr gun (Mark VIII).

Crew compliment was typically 60 officers and men for this class of ship.

The “HMS Cormer (J128)”

Upon commissioning the ship, under the command of Lt.Cdr. Arthur Edward Coles (RNR), was assigned minesweeping duties with the 9th Minesweeping Flotilla at Scapa Flow and for East Coast Convoy routes as far as Aberdeen, England. The ship’s duties during this period also included clearing the gunnery firing ranges off of Cape Wrath.

In 01 July 1941, the HMS Cromer changes commanding officers and, under the command of Cdr. Robert Henry Vivian Sivewright, RN (retired), the ship continued conducting minesweeping operations with the 9th Minesweeping Flotilla in the home waters off of Britain in the English Channel.

Sometime prior to October 1941 the Cromer is transferred to the 14th Minesweeping Flotilla. The ship changed commanding officers again on 24 October 1941 with Cdr. Robert Hearfield Stephenson (DSO, RN) replacing CDR. Sivewright.

December 1941 finds the Cromer based at Rosyth, England conducting minesweeping operations between the Thames Estuary and Aberdeen until early 1942 when the ship is detached from the Flotilla and directed to proceed to Durban, South Africa, with HMS Cromarty and HMS Poole, arriving in April for service with the Eastern Fleet.

On 03 September 1942, the ship participates in Exercise TOUCHDOWN with Force “M” ships in preparation for landings at Majunga, Madagascar (Operations STREAM). However, it is not known if the ship participated in the actual taking of Majunga and Diego Suarez (now Antsiranana, Madagascar). HMS Cromer and HMS Cromarty are recognized as being the “Outstanding ships in the gallant 14th Flotilla” for the clearance of nearly 60 mines in Courrier Bay.

In October 1942 the 14th Minesweeping Flotilla is directed to proceed to the Meditteranean to join the Inshore squadron and conduct minesweeping duties along the Egyptian and Libyan coasts.

On 09 November 1942, the HMS Cromer deployed from Alexandria with HMS Cromarty and HMS Boston to conduct mine clearance operations off of Mersa Matruh. The minesweepers were late joined off of Ras Alam EL-Rum by two additional minesweepers of the South African Navy, the HMSAS Imhoff and HMSAS Treen. The area west of Mersa Matruh had previously been mined on 07 August 1942 by the Italian destroyers Antonio Pigafetta (Capt. Enrico Mirti della Valle) and Giovanni da Verazzano (CDR. Carlo Rossi). The Flotilla had swept 46 mines off the coast of Mersa Matruh and was nearing the end the day’s minesweeping activities when the ship set off a magnetic mine. The resulting explosion killed CDR Stephenson and 44 members of the ships company and immediatley sank the ship. The HMSAS Imhoff was able to rescue a number of survivors (exact number not known). The ship sank at position 31.26N/27/16E in 70-100 meters of water.

 

 S.S.CITTA DI AGIGENTO

The Citta di Agrigento was an Italian steamship of 2,480 tons.  She was sunk during a night raid on 20 July 1942 by British aircraft while moored in the harbour of Marsa Matruh.

In this photo taken in late summer of 1942, the Italian MS-15 lies in the foreground in Marsa Matruh harbor. The sunken Citta di Agrigento lies in the background.

CITY OF AMSTERDAM

 

Built by Richardson, Duck & Co. Ltd.Thornaby (Stockton-On-Tees) in 1877 she was a steamship of 884 tons gross, fitted with a 2 cylinder compound engine, 213ft long .She was wrecked 16th March 1913, 100 miles west of Alexandria on passage Alexandria for Sollum with rice.

S.S.CHAKDINA

Built in 1914 by Ramage and Ferguson for the British India Steam Navigation Co. she was 330 ft long, 3033 tons and fitted with triple expansion engines delivering 668 n.h.p giving her a speed of 14 knots. She had been taken over for Admiralty duties and was under the command of Lt..Cdr. W.R. Hickley when she was torpedoed of Sollum on Dec  5th 1941.

ship was torpedoed and sunk, the survivors put to the boats and were towed to Bardia by the U boat , and  became prisoners of the Turks. 10 crew were lost.

During  June 1940,along with HMS DAINTY AND ILEX she was escorting a large squadron of warships including 2 battleships and one aircraft carrier. Between the 27th and 29th they attacked 4 Italian submarines patrolling the coast of Libya.The LIUZZI and UEBI SCEBELI were sunk off Derna, eastern Libya. Later they sunk the ARGONAUTA, and damaged the SALPA. she was bombed by Junkers 88’s and sunk of Sidi Barrini on July 11th,1941. She was safely abandoned without the loss of life.

S.S.CHARLES TELLIER

Built in 1915 by Lamberet Bros for Wood skinner &Co,.The 1366 ton British steamship was238 ft long fitted with a triple expansion steam engine  delivering 178 nhp. She was on a journey from Port Said to the Persian Gulf with a cargo of frozen meat. She was wrecked at Ras El Khebba,  June 28th 1919

 

Badly damaged by depth charges from a British Swordfish aircraft and scuttled on 2 June, 1942 by U-81.Her  46 crew survived.

 

 

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