Northern Red Sea Wrecks
1. Million Hope
Built in Japan as a bulk carrier, the Million Hope was launched as the "Ryusei Maru" in 1972. In the summer of 1996, loaded with a 26,000 ton cargo of potash and phosphate, the Million Hope caught fire as she was navigating the straits from Jordan. As the fire raged through the entire ship, she lost control and ran headlong into the reefs on the Sinai coast. Today over half the wreck is visible for kilometers. Plenty of shoaling fish and soft corals have now taken up residence around the ship.
Renamed several times, the cargo ship Kormoron, built in 1963, sailed her final voyage in August 1984. With a cargo of phosphate, she rammed Laguna reef and was later declared a total loss. Situated at the north end of the reef, the wreck is easy to locate as her stern still breaks the water surface. Lying in only 8 m, the wreck is broken up, her engines uncovered and spread over a large area of the reef. She is an ideal photo object, with a plentiful marine life.
The world famous Thistlegorm wreck sunk in 1941 in the area of Sha´ab Ali in the Gulf of Suez. She was packed to the gunwales with a cargo of supplies bound for the British army based in Alexandria, however, she was bombed by the Germans on her way to port. Today she is in fairly good condition, with much of the cargo still remaining. Time seems to have stood still for this impressive wreck. Motorcycles, jeeps, trucks, rolling stock, airplane parts, stacks of rifles, radio equipment and a plentiful supply of rubber boots are still in pristine condition. Located at 30 m and 400 ft long, it requires several dives to explore the entire ship. Although it is heaven for wreck enthusiasts, it is often one of the most underrated fish dives in the area, as it attracts schooling barracuda and provides a hunting ground for giant tuna and snapper. An excellent ship wreck that is a must see in the Red Sea. The Thistlegorm requires some level of experience beyond open water training.
262 ft long Kingston was built as a British cargo ship in 1871. Her final voyage was in 1881, a routine tirp to the Far East. Laden with coal, she sailed out of the Suez Canal on a calm day, when the sea was flat. With no surf as a warning, she ran headlong into the reef close to Sha´ab Ali. Today she lies in only 14 m of water. Both of her masts lie beside her and as her wood has long since vanished, the iron frames allow access to her insides. Huge shoals of sweetlips, striped goatfish, tuna and jacks can be seen hunting prey. Soft corals and anemones cover the ship allowing for plenty of marine life.
5. Nail wreck
A wooden hulled, copper clad steamship, the nail wreck lies in the shadows of a small abandoned tugboat. An unknown ship, she received her name from all of the bronze nails that lay scattered around her. With all wood long since gone, her iron work lies in just 4 m of water.
The Dunraven was an English ship on her way from Bombay to Newcastle when she struck the reef on the 25th April 1876. She was carrying with her timber, spices and cotton. The hull lies upside down at 25m and is completely covered in corals. It is easy to penetrate the wreck in the ships cargo hold. The wreck, after all these years, gives you an incredible feeling of stepping back in time with stacks of ropes and wooden ladders. Fish life on the wreck is exceptional. From bow to stern, a vast number of glass fish cover the boat. There are also large numbers of groupers, jack fish, tuna, scorpion and crocodile fish around the hull. If you´re lucky you can see sword fish that tend to congregate around the stern.
7. Sea Star
A 372 ft Greek motor cargo ship, Sea Star had been run aground on Abu Nuhas and in the course of freeing herself damaged the hull. Over optimistic, the captain headed north towards the Suez to seek repair. Upon reaching the north end of Gobul Island, it became apparent that the pumps could not cope with the incoming water. An attempt to beach the ship led to her total loss. After only a few days on the reef, she was dragged under by the waves and came to rest with her stern at 50 m and her bow at 25. The ship has resisted being invaded by corals, but is home to jacks and snappers that thrive in the strong, prevailing current. It is this current, as well as weather that makes this wreck a more difficult one to dive.
8. Rosalie Moller
In the early hours of October 8th, 1941, just two days after the Thistlegorm sunk, Rosalie Moller was sunk by German aircraft bombers. She was on her way to Alexandria with a cargo of coal. This wreck lies in the channel north of Gubal island and is a dive that is suited for the more experienced diver. Visibility can be reduced compared to the surrounding Red Sea and there are some very strong currents. She lies fairly deep, starting at 17 m and going down to 50 m. The wreck is in pristine condition and is home to prolific fish life, along with a magnificent array of hard and soft corals. She is continually surrounded by thousands of glass fish. Weather permitting she is a fantastic wreck to dive.
Launched in 1871, this 310 ft long iron hulled steamship weighed some 1900 tonnes. Like the Carnatic, she was rigged with sails and a 2 cylinder steam engine. Bound for Penang via the Suez Canal, she left the London docks in August of 1887. Sailing over calm seas meant that many of the unchartered reefs were invisible; no white surf line was visible and no sound of breaking waves could be heard. In the early hours of the 16th, the Ulysses struck Gobal Seghir. The captain believed that there was little damage done and therefore refused help from passing ships. After several days on the reef, the coral began to wear its way through the iron hull. Two barge ships arrived to remove her cargo and after two weeks, despite gallant efforts, the ship began to slip back off the reef. Today the stern lies at 29 m. Her hull and rudder are covered in corals, sponges, hydroids and anemones. Some of her cargo lies scattered about the seabed, covered in lush soft corals.
10. Tugboat (Barge)
Although only a hull, the tugboat is totally covered in soft corals and it is aboundant in marine life. Anemone carriers, guitar sharks, squid, cuttlefish, coral banded shrimp and moray eels frequent the wreck at night.
11. Giannis D
Launched in 1969 as the Shoyo Maru, the Giannis D was built by the Kuryshima Dock Company of Imabari, Japan. In April 1983, laden with a cargo of teak planks bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, she crashed into the north western corner of Abu Nahas. Having ordered "full-speed ahead", the captain fell asleep in his cabin, having not realized that the reef lay in the ships path. Today she is broken into three main sections; the bow itself, parts of the midship where the teak planks lay scattered about, and the intact stern of the ship which is the most exciting part of the dive. ?Full of rooms and passageways that run off at strange angles, she lies at a 45 degree angle at the base of the reef.
The Peninsula and Oriental Passenger Steamer "Carnatic" was built by Samuda Bros of London and classified as an ´iron framed, planked passenger steamer of 1776 tons´. Her dimensions were 89.8 m x 11.6 m with a draught of 7.8 m. In addition to square-rigged sails, she was powered by a single 4 cylinder compound inverted engine which produced a very handsome 2,442 hp. In September of 1869 she gently struck the reef but did not sink immediately, in fact the captain and the 210 passengers and crew spent the night on board as no one believed that a steel hulled ship, sitting gently on a coral reef, would be in too much trouble. After 36 hours on the reef though, due to the pivoting of the boat with the rise and fall of the waves causing stresses on the keel, she snapped in half with the stern sliding off the reef taking 5 passengers and 26 crew with it. The aft followed shortly afterwards and diving the wreck today you can see that the two halves have seemingly joined up again underwater. She lies on her port side in 30 m of water. A great wreck with plenty to see including her single prop, masts, square portholes, and lots of broken wine bottles in the bottom of the hold in the aft section.
13. Chrisoula K
A general cargo vessel of 3,720 tonnes, the ship was built in the German Baltic port of Lubeck and launched in 1954. Lloyd´s List for September 1981 included the following item under Casualty Report: "Chrisoula K (Greek). Suez, Aug 31 - MV Chrisoula K, ran aground yesterday in the Red Sea, sustaining serious damage but no casualties. The vessel hit coral reefs near the Egyptian naval base at Ras Banas. Rescue units from the naval base picked up the 21 member crew unscathed and took them to Suez. The vessel, carrying floor tiles from Italy, was on her way to Jeddah. The seriously damaged vessel was considered a total loss." Just like the Giannis D a few years later, the captain had fallen asleep on a trip to Jeddah, thinking he had cleared any danger after exiting the Suez Canal, only to be rudely awakened as the ship ran full steam onto the reef. Today the front half is very broken up and has been scattered through wave action. The stern section is good for penetration but seems a little unstable, and with large waves above you, there is a lot of creaking and movement from within.
The cargo vessel ran aground during a storm in May 1978 after encountering difficulty in steering. She was enroute to Saudi Arabia via the Suez Canal, with a cargo of granite floor tiles from Italy. She was declared as a total loss as her weight kept her trapped on the reef. She lies in 27 m of water and her tiles are piled around her intact hull. Lying upright, her upper decks are at 3 m. Hard corals adorn her 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.
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