RED SEA WRECK EXPLORATION PROJECT

RED SEA EXPLORERS | FROG KICK DIVING

It’s long been rumored that there are over 100 shipwrecks in the Gulf of Suez.


The Red Sea Wreck Exploration Project, started and supported by Red Sea Explorers, has recently begun exploring this area, with great initial success.


A very unique sea, the Red Sea not only is one of the healthiest seas on earth, it has a very rich history of shipwrecks dating back hundreds of years. Until recently very little exploration has been done in the Gulf of Suez in this area of the northern Red Sea.


Earlier this year, a local fisherman approached Faisal Khalaf with Red Sea Explorers and told him he knew the location of more than 150 shipwrecks in the Gulf of Suez.  The Wreck Exploration Project team was born, and started checking out the targets.  The targets were legit:


Target 1:  Yet-to-be-identified 100 meter long cargo/pipe ship at 70 meters depth.


Target 2:  Collier (coaling ship), approximately 80 meters long, at 75 meters depth - Identified by Bill Zanke on September 17, 2018 as the Fulica


Target 3:  Recently identified as the SC Almirante Barroso, a Brazilian Warship which sank in 1893


Target 4:  The Theissov, a 70 meter cargo ship​


(Stay updated on Red Sea Explorer's News)​


With as many divers that visit the Red Sea every year, you’d think that all of its secrets would be revealed and all areas would be fully explored.  Since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 the Red Sea is one of the busiest sailing passages in the world, so it’s no wonder many ships have ended up on the bottom of the Strait of Gubal.  However, most of the shipwrecks lie in depths outside of recreational diving, requiring a high degree of training, experience, effort and dedication to find, explore and identify.  Finding new wrecks is a rare occurrence, with few divers conducting exploration in that area, due to the depths, and challenging conditions.


We need more team members!


If you are interested in joining one of our exploration expeditions, contact Brian

PROJECT GOALS

  • Dive and explore GPS targets to determine whether the target warrants further exploration
  • Explore shipwrecks, search for artifacts and clues, survey, document (photo and video) and take measurements, etc to help identify their identities and history
  • Identify recently discovered wrecks through research


JOIN US

INTERESTED IN JOINING THIS PROJECT?  EMAIL BRIAN

EMAIL BRIAN

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

Participants must be prepared for a challenging program, long days of searching and demanding diving conditions. Target positions to be explored range from 30 meters to a maximum of 80 meters depth.  


This is true exploration.  Targets could be a pile of pipes or a historically significant shipwreck.  Exploration dives are not guaranteed to yield significant finds, but you won't know unless you go.


Due to the exploration area's proximity to the northern shipwrecks (SS Thistlegorm, Ulysses, Kingston, Rosalie Moller, Dunraven, Tiran Lara, Abu Nahas, etc) we'll spend non-exploration days diving those wrecks.  If the group prefers, we can spend two days at Brothers as well.


Divers with less experience are welcome to join as support divers and get a 10% discount.  Working as a support diver can be an excellent experience for an aspiring explorer to prepare for the challenges of exploration diving.  You'll also have non-support dives on the northern wrecks / Brothers dives.


Still interested?  Email Brian for more info

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WRECK OF THE FULICA

RED SEA WRECK EXPLORATION PROJECT | 2018

Laying in the northern Strait of Gubal, in the middle of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), also called the “shipping lane” at a depth of approximately 75 meters, is a shipwreck approximately 80 meters in length sitting upright, with severe damage to its bow.


The team believed the wreck to be a collier (coaling ship), as it has several cargo holds with winches between them, similar to the Rosalie Moller.

It’s position, in the shipping lane just east of Ashrafi Island, is one of the windiest parts of the Red Sea, making for very rough surface conditions.  Additionally, its location, at the base of the Gulf of Suez, means extremely strong, ripping currents.​


Laying in the northern Strait of Gubal, in the middle of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), also called the “shipping lane” at a depth of approximately 75 meters, is a shipwreck approximately 80 meters in length sitting upright, with severe damage to its bow.



The team believed the wreck to be a collier (coaling ship), as it has several cargo holds with winches between them, similar to the Rosalie Moller.


Its position, in the shipping lane just east of Ashrafi Island, is one of the windiest parts of the Red Sea, making for very rough surface conditions.  Additionally, its location, at the base of the Gulf of Suez, means extremely strong, ripping currents.​

FINDING FULICA | RED SEA SHIPWRECK EXPLORATION PROJECT | 2018

IDENTIFYING THE FULICA (BILL ZANKE)

In trying to identify the wreck of the collier Fulica, there were several clues that helped me piece things together….


By looking into earthenware beer bottle from JJ & WH Allison I found out that in 1890, the Allison brewery merged with four other Sunderland area brewers to form Newcastle Breweries.  The Suez Canal opened in 1869, so now I had a rough date range for the wreck.


I next downloaded a copy of Dictionary of Disasters at Sea in the Age of Steam and started cataloging all of the wrecks that met the criteria of what we knew.  I had a general timeframe, its nationality (British), the rough dimensions of the wreck, its cargo load (coal) and the area where it sank.  Still, there were over 7500 wrecks in the dictionary so the going was slow.


At the same time I was researching the imprint of the on the porcelain that was brought up from the wreck.  At first I thought it was a potter’s mark, but after researching British pottery and looking at other shipwreck china I realized it wasn’t a potter’s mark, but the emblem of the steamship company that owned the collier.  I started looking for steamship companies from the era with the initials “PS” but couldn’t make a match.


My big break came when I was cataloging  the dictionary and ran across the steamship “Barita”.  The Barita matched the general characteristics of our collier but the biggest clue was the ship’s owner; Porteous and Senier (PS).  In researching Porteous and Senier, I came across the steamship owner’s flag, which was an exact match of emblem on the china brought up from the collier – I had the name of the ship’s owner!


The Barita wasn’t our wreck – She matched all of the characteristics, but sunk off from Galatz, not in the Red Sea.   But now, with the name of the steamship company, I was able to track down a list of ships they owned and their disposition. 


That’s how I found the Fulica:

http://sunderlandships.com/view.php?a1Page=1&a1PageSize=20&official_number=&imo=&builder=&builder_eng=&year_built=&launch_after=&launch_before=&role=&type_ref1=&propulsion=&owner=Porteous%20&port=&flag=&disposal=&lost=&ref=104415&vessel=FULICA


Interested in joining us as we find, explore and identify new shipwrecks?  Look at our Red Sea Wreck Exploration Project and contact Brian for details.