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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MINIYA

Getting the name right: For many years this ship was known as “El Mina” thought to be a corruption of the Arabic word for “The Harbour.” A few years ago, I discovered her real name was Miniya and she was one of 5 similar craft purchased by the Egyptian government between 1956 and 1962.


The Loss of the Minesweeper: The third Arab-Israeli War took place over 5-10 June 1967 (the “Six-Day War.”) The fourth Arab-Israeli War took place between 2-14 October 1973 (the “Yom Kippur War”). The Miniya is recorded as having been sunk by Israeli Forces on 6 February 1970 but no further details are given and no information about the action itself is available. With her port anchor run out, it would appear the ship was at anchor when attacked. The vessel sustained a direct hit to the starboard side of the bows. It is likely that the force of the explosion blew the forward deck gun overboard before the ship sank.


Diving the Minesweeper: The Miniya is found close to Hurghada Harbour. She lies squarely on her port side at a depth of 30m and is completely intact apart from the missing forward deck gun. A marker buoy is attached to one of the propeller shafts. One of the two propellers is missing. Swimming forward from the stern, there is aft accommodation and a large machine gun. The funnel rests on the seabed next to which are a number of cable winches. In front of the bridge are a pair of smaller machine guns - all of which are loaded with live ammunition. The starboard bridge door is open but inside is too cramped for a diver entry. The foredeck is bare with nothing more than the barbette on which the missing gun was mounted, some loose anchor chain and a capstan. The starboard anchor is tight against the hawse pipe.

Postscript: The opportunity to dive a former Soviet warship is rare. Although the Miniya can never compete with any of Egypt’s more exciting shipwrecks, she is, nevertheless, worth a visit. A little too deep for that initial “check-out” dive at the start of any safari trip, this shipwreck provides an ideal way of rounding off your holiday on return to Hurghada.

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

Close to Hurghada Harbour

Depth

30m

Constructed

1948

Launched

1948

Type

Type T-43 Minesweeper No 302

Displacement

569

Dimensions

Machinery

Two 4-stroke turbo-charged Type 9D diesel engines

Owners

Egyptian Navy

Cargo

Machine guns, mortars and mines