The Wrecks of the Red Sea: A Deep Dive Into Egypt’s Sunken Ships
Delineating the borders between three of the world’s most pivotal continents—Asia, Africa, and Europe—in what is collectively known as the Old World, the Red Sea is, and has been for millennia, one of the most navigated bodies of water on earth. However, owing to its storms, strong winds, numerous reefs, and dangerous currents, Egypt’s sea to the east has been a historic graveyard of ships.
Though considered tragic events in their respective times, these shipwrecks of the depth are now well-known diving sites, with a myriad of tourists and diving enthusiasts coming from all over the globe to witness not only the majesty of the Red Sea corals and marine wildlife but also these lost ships with their cargo still intact.
Sunk in 1981, this Greek boat was carrying a cargo of tiles and stones across the Red Sea. It can be found today on the eastern side of Sha’ab Abu Nuhas reef, in the busy Strait of Gobal.
At the site, which can be easily reached by boat from Hurghada, schools of different types of sea life from Spanish dancers to the masked butterflyfish can be seen there.
Covered in picturesque, soft coral reefs, this shipwreck is one of the oldest in all of the Red Sea; it was launched in 1862 and sunk seven years later when it was struck and remained fixed on the reef.
The Carnatic is located on the northern side of Sha’ab Abu Nuhas Reef in the Straits of Gobal.
Located around the same area as the Carnatic, the Ghiannis D was a Greek ship that was sunk en route from Croatia to Saudi Arabia in 1983 after colliding with a wreck. Divers can experience swimming inside the engine room as well as other rooms connected to it.
This site is teeming with life, and divers are always advised to keep an eye out for enormous grey mottled moray eels, coral, prawns, mullet, butterflyfish and pretty pipefish.
In 1887, as the Ulysses entered the Red Sea through Suez, it collided with the Island of Gobal Seghir in the straits of Gobal. The damage was at first considered minimal, but as the ship sailed on, the situation was exacerbated and the crew had to abandon ship.
Just like that of the Ghiannis D, this wreck is covered in soft corals and is rich with marine life.
Perhaps the most well-known of the Red Sea’s many shipwrecks, the SS Thistlegorm was a British warship that was was attacked from the air in 1941, during World War II, while crossing the Red Sea. Shortly afterwards, it sunk whilst carrying a cargo of war supplies that included rifles, motorbikes, train carriages, and trucks.
The Thistlegorm is located in the Strait of Gobal, north of Ras Mohammed.
Launched in 1952 and sunk in 1978, the Kimon M has had many owners over the years, its last was the Ianissos Shipping Company of Panama. It sunk after striking Sha’ab Abu Nuhas reef, which has claimed most of the ships on this list so far.
Like the other shipwrecks of the area, it is home to many soft corals and diverse marine life.
One of the oldest wrecks on this list, the Dunraven was sunk in 1870 at the Strait of Gobal, north of Beacon Rock and 12 kilometers west of Ras Mohammed. The British ship was returning from Bombay en route to Newcastle carrying a shipment of wool and cotton.
The upside-down wreck has an opening that divers can use to swim across the entire length into the bow.
The Kingston met its fate when it ran into the reef at Shag Rock in 1881. Today, beautiful corals adorn the insides of the lost ship, which happens to also be home to sea turtles, large shoals of goatfish, and giant morays.
In WWII, two days after the Thistlegorm was air-raided in the straits of Gobal, the Rosalie Moeller was attacked by the German Luftwaffe as it was anchoring in the Straits of Gobal.
The wreck is still intact and holds numerous types of corals and fish.
Built in 1964, the Cypriot cargo ship hit the reef at Ras Mohammed in 1980 carrying a cargo of British toilets, bathtubs and pipes. The wreck was only discovered again 20 years later when it became a popular site for recreational diving; there’s no shortage of pictures showing laughing divers sitting on the sunken toilets and posing in bathtubs.