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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The Loss of the Turbo: The Turbo was in the Mediterranean on passage from Haifa for Alexandria with 7,500 tons of fuel. This had been fitted with a raised gun platform over the after deck on which were mounted unspecified weapons. She had a crew of 42 plus 10 Royal Navy gunners. On 20 August 1941, the Turbo was attacked and so badly damaged she was abandoned. Refusing to sink, she was re-boarded and taken to Port Said where her cargo was offloaded. She was then towed to Suez where her guns were removed. On 1 April 1942 she departed for Aden in tow of Gladys Moller. On 4 April, they encountered very bad weather and, already badly damaged, she began to break in two. The Master of the Gladys Moller cut the tow and remained with the forward section which was considered dangerous to shipping. This was later sunk by Naval gunfire. The stern section was never seen again until discovered by divers in the 1990s.

Diving the Turbo: Wreckage is approximately 70m long and comprises the rear half of a Tanker of moderate size. She lies parallel to the reef and leans away from that reef over to port. Max. depth is 28m to the seabed. The original ship had a bridge deck amidships which is missing along with everything else forward of that point. What remains is the complete aft section which includes a large open deck area with fuel cargo transfer pipes, mast, accommodation block (complete with galley) and engine room above which is the gun deck. The machinery is easily accessible and provides the diver with an excellent example of a triple expansion steam engine of the period.

Postscript: Wrongly reported as being the “Atlas” which lies almost 700 miles further south.

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.










Bulk petroleum tanker fitted for liquid fuels




114.08m x 15.45m with a draught of 8.33m


Three-cylinder triple-expansion steam engine


Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company