Shipwrecks are common and it refers to destruction of the ships which may be due to storms, sinking, collision, human errors or poor ship design. Weather, climate changes and poor navigation skills also contribute to it. Warfare, piracy, targeting or artificial reefs are intentional sources. 3 million shipwrecks are estimated by United Nations to be on the ocean floors worldwide. Saudi Arabia is famous for these shipwreck mishaps in Red Sea which is the commonest for such shipwreck cases which lies between Africa and Asia. Divers from all over the world come to visit it. It presents a special underwater adventure due to its mysterious history in wars and tragedies. Numerous fishes, coral reefs, and rich diverse marine life are the reasons of its fame. Saudi’s famous shipwreck, Al-Fahad (previously known as Ro-Pax vessel) shipwreck is very well known incident and we are going to discuss about it in the upcoming text.
History of Al-Fahad Shipwreck
MV free enterprise III was built in 1966 which was operated on routes from Dover. It was built by I.C.H. Holland, for Townsend brother ferry service and handled by Townsend Thoresen. It was a Ro Pax which was sold to Maltese in 1984 which renamed it as Tamira. Then again it was sold in 1986 to Egyptians Sadaka shipping group. The Egyptians renamed it as Al-Fahad which for 12 years served in Saudi Arabia.
The view of Al-Fahad Shipwreck
The wreck forms a sharp angle from the floor, grounded in reefs. It looks like a tempting spectacular site attracting divers. Some of the remains are still intact, with corrosion and rust and the diverse marine life surrounding it with the ship side resting on port and the point facing towards the sky. It forms a sort of home for the fishes in that area which takes protection beneath it. Al Fahad ship wreck is a huge one and exploring it may prove to be harmful although swimming around that area is easy.
Location of Al-Fahad Shipwreck
In 2004 this Al-Fahad ship met its fate and due to some technical problems in engine was anchored into the Red Sea. It was at 35km from Jeddah towards south near the beach of Shuaiba. GPS Coordinates: 20.802017, 39.425578
Safety tips for viewing shipwrecks
- Mooring line should be followed which is basically between the wreck and dive boat, it is the safest.
- Keep track of your location and starting point to avoid ending up on wrong boat.
- Wear full length wet-suit and also get tetanus vaccines to avoid getting hurt and infection from the protruding sharp rusty edges of the wreck.
- Be prepared and plan your dive in advance. Make sure you are comfortable and initially plan a shallow water dive for purpose of checking. Also check the weather and climate while planning
- Look for your safety; it is possible that the wreck may collapse all of a sudden.
- Don’t touch it nor remove any thing from the wreck, respect it.
- Team diving is a very good approach but it requires communication skills and planning before diving. Knowing strengths and weakness of each other will help protect each other.
- Appropriate equipment, proper training, self-assessment, confidence and luck is all that matters.
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