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Salem Express (Safaga)
On the 15th of December, 1991, one of the greatest maritime disasters of recent times occurred a few miles from the Port of Safaga on Hyndman Reef. The 100 m long passenger ferry Salem Express was returning to Hurghada from Mecca with a full boat. The official number was 690 passengers, but reports say that the more likely number was upwards of 1600.
The ship struck the reef, gauging a hole in the forward section of the hull. Within 10 minutes she rolled over and sunk to 30 m with her starboard side downward. Her port side is just 10 m below the surface. She is now covered with soft corals and is home to a plethera of reef fish.
Numidia (Brother Islands)
The Numidia is a huge freighter that lies on the northern plateau. With her stern wedged into the island at around 80 m, she lies against the island almost vertical. Having been underwater for almost 100 hundred years, she is now part of the reef and home to many fish and soft corals.
After clearing the Suez Canal on the 19th of July, 1901, heading for Calcutta, the captain ordered the ship to be taken over one mile to the west of Big Brother. He then left the bridge leaving instructions to be informed when the lighthouse was abeam. At about 02:10 the next morning, the ship ran aground north of the lighthouse. No casulties were reported and the cargo was later salvaged.
At a depth of 8 m, the diver will find the bow to be broken up and marked by pairs of railway engine wheels which was part of the original cargo. Descending down the wreck, the main body is smashed out due to salvaging of the cargo. This allows the diver to penetrate and get a good look inside.
Aida (Brother Islands)
One of two wrecks on Big Brother, the French built, 75 m Aida, rests between 25 - 60 m. Apart to some major damage on the bow, she is virtually intact and is home to many small fish and corals.
Originally intended as a supply ship for the Egyptian Ports and Lighthouses Administration, she was later transfered to the Egyptian Navy and was used to ferry troops. She was sunk for the first time during WWII after being bombed, but was raised, repaired and put back in service.
Her sinking out at Brothers Islands took place on the 15th of September, 1957. She was supplying the military base on Big Brother with their much needed provisions, when she was smashed into the rocks due to heavy seas. The captain and crew were able to abandon ship and the Aida sunk quickly to where she is today.
Built in the 1800´s in Britian, the Zealot was a 245 ft long cargo steamership. She was on her way to Bombay with a mixed cargo, including a large amount of iron ore, when she hit a reef near Daedalus reef. According to stories about the sinking, this was the third ship that the captain had managed to sink! As she is found at a depth of approximately 75 m, only technical divers can visit this ship.
A small coastal freighter built in Aberdeen in 1965, the Hamada came under the ownership of the Phemios Navagation Company.
Today the wreck, broken into two sections, lies in 14 m of water. Her port side visible at low tide. In her midst is her cargo of plastic granules, as well as a fork truck, the anchor whndlass and winches. Even the masts lie against the reef slope complete with pulleys and cables. Small reef fish and moray eels are common sightings.
Built in 1909 in Middlesborough, this 4000 tonne, 345 ft long steam freighter was torpedoed on the 6th of September, 1940. Hit by an Italien submarine, the ensuing explosions broke the ship in half. Due to the fact that her cargo contained war materials, which was at a premium at that time, a salvage attempt was made. Her stern section was sealed up water tight and it was towed towards Alexandria. Due to high seas and strong winds, the towage was broken and the stern sunk yet again to the sea floor. This makes her a rather unique wreck with her stern and bow lying some 400 miles away from each other.
Today she is teeming with marine life and makes an excellent backdrop for photographers.
This 500 ft, sinlge screw steel hulled steamship was built in Glasgow in 1902. Sometime around the year 1919, she departed from the Ganges Delta, en-route to England. Having stopped at Port Sudan to rebunker, she began her travels north through the Red Sea on the 10th of June.
During the early hours she ran aground on the southern reefs of Zabargad Island, then known as St Johns Island. Attempts to back off the reef fractured her hull and she began to take on water. Fully loaded with cargo, there was no way to salvage the ship and the crew and passengers abandoned her by means of her lifeboats. She eventually slipped off the reef and came to rest at 70 m.