It sunk on 6 October 1941 – Abu Nuhas Sha’ab
A legend in the world of diving, the wreck is indeed fascinating. It is a wreck not to be missed and an essential destination during a visit to the Red Sea.
Position of the “SS Thistlegorm” ship – GPS 27 ° 48.800 ‘N, 33 ° 55.250′ E
Tonnage: 4869 DWT
Length: 128 meters
Width: 18 feet
Maximum depth: 33 meters
Minimum depth (in the main deck): 16 feet
Minimum admitted skill level to dive: beginner (Open Water Diver)
The ship was a supply vessel of the Second World War, which sunk in October 6, 1941and was located by Jacques Cousteau in the 1950s.
However, its position remained only a painful uncertainty, until the rediscovery of October 1992. Now divers from around the world are attracted by the SS Thistlegorm, fascinated by its amazing load of military equipment.
In the autumn of 1941, the British Eighth Army forces were carrying a campaign against Rommel’s forces of North Africa.
On the night of October 6, the freighter S.S. Thistlegorm, carrying supplies needed in England, anchored at Sha’ab Ali, just one day away from Suez, the terminus of its long journey around southern Africa head. Parallel with it the battleship HMS Carlisle was navigating as an escort.
The stationary vessels were detected by a German plane and immediately sent two bombers from a base on the island of Crete, which was occupied by Germans. With not much fuel the bombers attacked their first target that appeared in the viewfinder the SS Thistlegorm.
One bomb hit the store four, which was filled with ammunition, causing a huge explosion that destroyed the ship. As the fire spread, the ship was rocked by other explosions, destroying the middle section of the stern and sending the ship to the bottom. Nine men of the crew died.
Despite the large number of divers that violate the wreck SS Thistlegorm solitude, marine life is excellent. The Red Sea is spectacular in its diversity of species, with about 1,000 species of fish, of which 17 percent could be unique or endemic species about 2000 invertebrates and 180 species of coral.
You have the opportunity to see large specimens of lion fish on SS Thistlegorm, especially when these are going to hunt the big schools of Parapriacanthus ransonneti.
Samples of Lutjanus buquttatus, Heniochus acununatus and barracuda constituting a permanent presence, but you may encounter large specimens of Lutjanus Plectoropomus and Cephalopholis. Species and copies of Pomacanthus, Pygoplites dicanthus live near the cluster of large Gorgonaceae corals that grab on the wreck.
Objectives to be achieved during the dive
The drawback of diving on the SS Thistlegorm is not the current (generally weak), or the visibility (generally good) and not the depth (generally safe). It’s about the increasingly large number of existing divers underwater.
It is not excluded to see over 10 to 15 boats anchored above the wreck and you can be sure that you will have company during an expedition. This can be a problem.
An unfortunate aspect of this activity is that, after the wreck was discovered, many began extracting priceless artifacts, activity located at a not too distant limit of robbery.
SS Thistlegorm lies at depths between 16 meters to 30 meters, thus beginner level (Open Water Diver) being accepted to the main deck.
Only 126 m long SS Thistlegorm can be explored in a single diving hub, especially if you use a mixture of Nitrox to extend bottom time of stay. But a second dive will be made as to explore the ship thoroughly to appreciate the true value it deserves.
SS Thistlegorm lies directly on the sand, except for the stern, which is separated from the rest of the hull on the starboard side. The ship Center is destroyed due to the explosion that took place many years ago, although the stern of the vessel is relatively intact. Ship’s stores contain real values.
It can be explored from the bow, or, more often, just above the bow of the ship’s stores, where the load is; the SS Thistlegorm is at the same time, a military depot and a museum.
Penetration in the ship store is relatively easy. Warehouse No. 1 contains lower levels Lee Enfield rifles MK.III crates, aircraft parts and a large number of rubber boots. Here, in this magazine are two Rolls Royce armored cars, whose logos have disappeared long ago. Morris cars are at a higher level, and the famous British motorcycle manufacturing BSA W.D.M.20, made for military use.
At the starboard side is the warehouse No. 2, where you can enter trough the warehouse No. 1 or from above, contains numerous Bedford trucks in the lower sections, some of them loaded with motorcycles. Bottom at – 30 meters in front of the store No. 4 and roughly 20 meters from the hull was one of two 0-2-0 steam engines that carried Thistlegorm.
You can enter through any door of the wheelhouse to get in the maps room, officers’ mess or in the bathroom. One of the most famous sights is the Captain bath of the Thistlegorm which is now largely filled by mud and inhabited by the Rift pachypitila. Ceilings of these areas have a shiny appearance, caused by a layer of air trapped in caused by the entry of divers in these places.
Pupa is also worth researching, even if just for the massive propeller which is still in place and well preserved. Here are the crew quarters and a 7 cm deck gun.
Diving SS Thistlegorm takes you for a few minutes in the history of those times!
SS Thistlegorm Pictures Gallery