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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KIMON M

The Loss of the Kimon M: In December 1978, the Kimon M was loaded with 4,500 tons of bagged lentils in the Turkish port of Iskenderun destined for Bombay. She then sailed for Port Said and through the Suez Canal before finally approaching the wider and easier-to-navigate open Red Sea. Just as all those dangerous waters seemed to have been successfully navigated, however, on 12 December 1978 the ship struck the north east corner of Sha’b Abu Nuhas Reef. The crew were safely rescued.

The initial impact drove the Kimon M hard onto the Reef where she stayed for some days allowing that part of the cargo which was not contaminated with seawater to be salvaged. The ship itself, however, was then declared a constructive total loss and abandoned. Over time, prevailing winds and currents began to push the ship hard over onto her starboard side. During this time the bows were smashed and obliterated - all the way back to No 2 Hold. The remainder of the ship then fell back into deeper water at the base of the Reef - still on its starboard side. At some time, part of the engines appear to have been salvaged.


Diving the Kimon M: The front section, as far back as No 2 Hold, are now reduced to a debris field scattered across the reef. The remainder, however, provides an excellent series of dives. The view through the remnants of No 2 hold to the reef is exceptional. The engine room is rather dangerous because of ongoing deterioration. From above the wreck, divers tend to swim along the port side all the way to the stern where to the propeller and rudder. Rounding the stern, there are the rear decks and that part of the ship which has remained largely intact. Swimming back to the reef, the diver is able to explore many different features and will eventually discover the captain’s bath-tub within the central bridge deck.

Postscript (1): This wreck is rapidly deteriorating. All ships are built to withstand their own weight provided they remain upright. This vessel lies squarely on her starboard side and is, therefore, deteriorating rapidly. Entering this shipwreck must, therefore, be viewed as dangerous.

Postscript (2): Once again, there has been considerable confusion surrounding the correct identification of this shipwreck. Altogether, there are four outstanding shipwrecks which lay across the northern shores of Sha’ab Nuhas Reef. They are; Giannis D, Carnatic, Chrisoula K and Kimon M.

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

6m to 32m

Constructed

1952

Launched

1952

Type

Cargo

Displacement

3129

Dimensions

Machinery

4 stroke, single action 8 cylinder diesel engine

Owners

Ianissos Shipping Company of Panama

Cargo

4,500 tons of bagged Lentils