Diving the Umbria Wreck

The Umbria,
the exciting story of
one of the best wrecks in the world

The Umbria wreck

 

Heading to the Past

We are pleased to share the spectacular video showing the exciting history of one of the 5 best shipwrecks in the world, the Umbria. This video is a preview of the documentaryHeading to the Past” shot partially in the Sudanese Red Sea on board the Red Sea Blue Force 3, by the team of WE ARE WATER FILMS productions company.

This trailer corresponds to the part dedicated to the Umbria wreck.

Enjoy it!

On board the Blue Force Fleet vessel that operates in Sudan, you can also discover and enjoy from just 5 meters deep the spectacular 155-meter-long shipwreck loaded with hundreds of tons of intact weapons and much more. Come and find out the exciting story of this mythical shipwreck. 

Story of this mythical shipwreck.

Nine years after its on purpose sinking (June 10, 1940) it was explored for the first time by Hans Hass, one of the most famous diving pioneers. The remains of the Umbria are undoubtedly one of the best wrecks in the world and every diver traveler must include her in the TOP 10 list of shipwrecks to dive. It is the perfect wreck to dive since it sank peacefully in shallow water, without explosions or damage caused by bombs or torpedoes, so it houses intact the immense load of weapons it was carrying, as well as a large amount of marine life that has colonized it. 

Built in Hamburg, it was launched as “Bahía Blanca” on December 30, 1911; she was a cargo ship, capable of carrying more than 2,000 passengers and 9,000 tons of cargo. In 1912 she entered service with the Hamburg-America line and they plowed the route between Europe and Argentina until the outbreak of World War I. In 1918 the ship was acquired by the Argentinian Government and later, in 1935, transferred to the Italian Government, who changed her name to “Umbria” and turned her into a troop transport ship. For two years she transported thousands of soldiers to various colonies in East Africa, before finally being sold to the Triestino Line in 1937 to cover the route between Italy and various ports in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

On the night of May 28, 1940, Captain Lorenzo Muiesan left Naples after personally supervising the cargo she was carrying for the Italian troops stationed in the East African colonies. The Umbria had in its cellars several Fiat armored vehicles, bottles of wine, provisions, thousands of bombs, a large quantity of weapons and 20 boxes of “Thalers de Maria Teresa” (a currency adopted by Italy to pay the payrolls of soldiers posted in its Eritrean colony). 

On June 3, 1940, she arrived in Port Said, loading water and coal, trying to look like a simple cargo ship. Although Italy was expected to ally with Germany at any time, it remained technically neutral so the British-controlled port officials were unable to delay the ship and the cargo she was carrying from reaching its destination, on June 6 she was finally allowed to go on with her journey. On their way to Eritrea, on June 9, two English warships, the corvette HMS Grimsby and the battleship HMS Leander, intercepted the Umbria, forcing her to anchor near the coast of Port Sudan, with the clear intention of seizing the ship and all cargo. On the morning of June 10, Captain Muiesan was listening to the radio and became the only man on board to know that Italy had formally declared war. Therefore, his ship would pass into enemy hands as soon as the news reached the English. His decision was swift, and secretly he ordered the chief engineer to sink the ship. He then gathered the crew on deck and ordered the ship to be evacuated simulating a routine salvage drill. When the English realized the deception, it was too late and they had no choice but to abandon the ship to her destination. In this way, the Umbria sank forever the 10th of June of 1940, before her cargo was confiscated thanks to the ruse of her captain.

Umbria wreck from the air with Blue Force 3

 

Diving the Umbria

The shipwreck is lying on its port side between -5 and -33 meters deep. You can dive her 155 meters long hull and her immense cellars, engine room, kitchen, corridors, dining room … The exterior of the wreck is easy to dive due to the depth at which is found and the absence of currents. However, the internal exploration of the Umbria wreck represents a real adventure for the divers who enter her, since no salvage and recovery work was ever carried out on the wreck after its sinking and both its interior and its cargo are practically intact. The deepest part of the wreck has a thick layer of silt and sediment and visibility can be poor. Its hull is upholstered with soft and hard corals, sponges and anemones. An exceptional marine life develops around the wreck, including crabs, lobsters, crinoids, clown fish, Spanish dancers, snappers, sweet lips, butterflies, humpback parrotfish and barracudas … For photography lovers, pay special attention to backlights through the portholes in the dining room and interior corridors and the starboard propeller that at just 18 meters deep offers spectacular views. Inside we will discover the engine room, the FIAT Lungo 1100 vehicles, warehouses full of cement bags, glass bottles, ammunition for rifles, aircraft parts, incredible walls with more than 300,000 stacked bombs, the kitchens still intact, the impressive hallways and dining room.

 

How and when to dive in the Umbria

On board the Red Sea Blue Force 3, you can enjoy diving in a spectacular submerged archaeological museum. Due to weather conditions, the best diving season in Sudan is from February till May. All the liveaboard safari routes that Blue Force Fleet offers in Sudan include diving the Umbria. Check the schedule of safaris and routes in SCHEDULE BLUE FORCE SUDAN, all the additional information you need about this destination you will find it on the BLUE FORCE FLEET – RED SEA – SUDAN website, as well as downloading the Brochure SUDAN – SHARK DIVE EXPEDITION Don’t dream about it, live it and book your liveaboard trip in Sudan with Blue Force now!

would you like to go there?

Visit our Sudanese Red Sea section
available

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International Day of Shark Awareness

International Day of Shark Awareness

by Blue Force Fleet

We are back in the Red Sea, YESS!

 

Today is the international “Shark Awareness Day” and we would like to communicate that we are starting again our diving operation in the Red Sea with the best diving route to see sharks in the Red Sea.

Next August 16th we will depart on board the Red Sea Blue Force 3 to enjoy a BDE Route. TRY TO IMAGE HOW THE DIVING WILL BE THERE AFTER THE LOCKDOWN!!!

Don’t loose your chance to book a place to participate!

Book with CONFIDENCE

LIVEABOARDS OFFER DURING 2020:

Would you like to be there?

Visit our BDE route page
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Red Sea Wrecks, the Kingston

Red Sea Wrecks, the Kingston

by David Fernandez

The Kingston, a reef in a wreck

 

Story of the Kingston

For years, dive boats operating in southern Sinai took their divers to the Danabaa reef, also called Shag Rock, located a short distance from where the SS Thistlegorm lies. The plan was to visit the remains of another wreck, the labeled “Sara H”, which was later simply reduced to “Sarah”.

It was not until 1996 when Peter Collings, the well-known British wreck diver, obtained enough information to correctly identify her and return her real name, “KINGSTON”.

The Kingston was built in 1971 on the banks of the Wear River, in the Oswald shipyards, Sunderland. She was commissioned by the Commercial Steamship Company. Like the Carnatic, Ulysses, and other ships of the time, the Kingston was a hybrid of sailing and steam, measured  262 feet long, and weighed 1,449 tons. The engine, whose model only ten units were manufactured, endowed her with a cruising speed of 10 knots.

Like other contemporary ships, she was prepared to transport both cargo and passengers, although in this case, her main task was the transport of coal.

 

The Final voyage

The Kingston left Cardiff on the 28th of January 1881 bound for Aden with a crew of 25 and 1,740 tons of coal. On the 16th of February, she crossed the Suez Canal at 9 in the morning, and a few hours later, at 11:50 p.m. in calm sea conditions, she struck Shag Rock Reef at 9 knots speed.

On the 18th the ship “Columbian” attempted rescue after more than 70 tons of coal had been jettisoned but was unable to help the Kingston. That same afternoon, the ship begins to make water and on the 19th the captain gives the order to abandon her. 16 of the crew were then picked up by the ship “Almora” and 8 others and the captain remained on board, making unsuccessful attempts to save the ship. Finally, on the 20th the Kingston sinks, and the survivors are picked up 4 days later by the “Strathmore”  on the island of Gubal, to where they had arrived in one of the auxiliary boats and were transferred to Suez.

Diving Kingston Wreck

Currently, the Kingston is one of the favorite dives for underwater photographers in the South Sinai area. When the conditions are favorable and the current is not strong, the impressive coral garden she is sitting in, the number of corals that have colonized her, the maximum depth of the place (17 meters), and the amount of sea life around the wreck, make of this site a dive into history not easy to forget …

would you like to go there?

Visit our Egyptian Red Sea section
available

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