Wreck Diving
Wrecks of the Red Sea

The Red Sea has been an important international waterway since time immemorial. The first record of a trading expedition in the Red Sea dates back to year 1493 BC, when Queen Hatchepsut of Egypt sent a fleet of five vessels from El Quseir, on the Red Sea mainland coast, to the Land of Punt, near present-day Somalia.

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CHRISOULA K

The Loss of the Chrisoula K: In August 1981 the Chrisoula K had been loaded in Italy with a cargo of large patio-type floor tiles for delivery to Jeddah. The journey from Italy to Port Said, through the Suez Canal and down through the Gulf of Suez were uneventful. On 31 August 1981, just as the ship was leaving the Gulf and approaching the open Red Sea, she was seen to drive hard onto the north east corner of Sha’ab Abu Nuhas Reef. The vessel was abandoned as a constructive total loss and neither ship nor cargo were salvaged. Eventually the Chrisoula K slipped back off the reef and came to rest on the seabed below.

Diving the Chrisoula K: There are broken bows on top of the reef which might be from either this ship or the Kimon M. Most of the main body of this wreck is upright. The lower portion of the ship’s stem is found on top of the reef in about 1m of water. The front half of the ship rests up the reef. No 1 and No 2 holds are wide open with their cargo still in place. The bridge deck is amidships and relatively intact. Below the bridge are several rooms. There are at least two separate access points to the engine room - one of which is obstructed and dangerous. The engine room is intact and fascinating. Continuing aft, the port side of the stern is twisted through 90 degrees over to starboard. The rear decks are, therefore upright and contain a small accommodation block plus all the usual bollards, capstans and railings. The rear mast is lying parallel to the seabed. Propeller and rudder are at a depth of 26m.

This wreck has something for every grade of diver without being too deep. At one end of the scale, the novice is able to enjoy a swim above the wreck in relatively shallow water. At the other end, the more experienced diver is able to penetrate the engine room.

Postscript: Despite overwhelming evidence to support the fact that this vessel really is the Chrisoula K, there are those who continue to insist she is not. Ant suggestion that this ship not the Chrisoula K is pure nonsense.

Ned Middleton is an award-winning, best selling author. For more information about this and other shipwrecks found within the Egyptian sector of the Red Sea, his book “Shipwrecks from the Egyptian Red Sea” (ISBN 1898162719 and 1905492162) is readily available. This book was declared “Underwater Publication of the Year” for 2007.

Location

Straits of Gobal, Sha'ab Abu Nuhas, northern tip

Depth

4m to 27m

Constructed

1954

Launched

1954

Type

Freighter

Displacement

3807

Dimensions

Machinery

Two-stroke single action 9 cylinder diesel engine

Owners

Clarion Marine Company of Piraeus, Cyprus

Cargo

Italian floor tiles